Tens of thousands march in SD for women’s rights

Melissa Gutierrez de Pineres


The San Diego Women’s March on Jan. 21 ended at the County Administration Building. Photo by Melissa de Pineres

Shaylyn Martos

As many as 40,000 people from all walks of life participated in the San Diego Women’s March in solidarity with one in Washington D.C., on Saturday demanding equality for all genders, races, religious affiliations and socio-economic status.

The march began at the Civic Center in downtown at 10 a.m., where activist leaders addressed the crowd in a light rain. They called for unity with the millions of marchers across 200 cities in the United States and in 26 countries and they advocated for a variety of causes. These included equal pay, affordable and fair access to healthcare, the right to choose an abortion and fundamental rights for the LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Asexual) community.

“Women’s rights are human rights!” the marchers chanted as they moved down Broadway and up North Harbor to the County Administration Building. Due to the sheer number of participants, the march was delayed and arrived at the county’s waterfront park at around 11:20 a.m.

Women, men, and families of all ages and backgrounds flooded the downtown streets carrying handmade signs with clever sayings and heartfelt calls for equality.

Many signs denounced inflammatory statements made by President Donald Trump with less than flattering caricatures. Other signs brought attention to women’s strength and independence. Women young and old held signs claiming to be proud “nasty women” and that their “pussies grab back!”

One 6-year-old named Julian held a sign that said, “Boys will be boys… who respect girls!” A man sported a sign that said, “I’m with her” with arrows scattered all over the sign.

Many protesters denounced the new president. Photo by Melissa de Pineres

San Diego native Kimberly De Castro hoisted a sign of Trump’s head that said, “There will be hell toupee,” with a hairpiece made of yellow yarn. On the reverse side it said, “We shall over comb!” She wore a pink cap with cat ears, which she said her mother knitted in two hours.

Thousands of marchers sported these handmade “pussy hats.” Many said that they got the pattern from the Pussyhat Project, based in Los Angeles, which posted knitting, crocheting and sewing patterns on its website for free. Many marchers said they made 20 to 30 hats for themselves and their friends and handed out the rest to people they met while they walked.

This sign in Spanish says “I clean your house,” “I take care of the children” and ends with “I deserve respect.” Photo by Melissa de Pineres

Students Sasha Duncan and Melissa Wengler showcased their bare chests instead of signs or hats. Duncan wore purple pasties over her nipples and sparkly purple paint with “girl power” and “f— misogyny” written in black on her torso. Wengler, who attends La Costa Canyon High School, sported black tape in x’s over her nipples.

The two young women said that they marched to support Planned Parenthood and free reproductive health care.

“I really believe in the ‘Free the Nipple’ movement,” said Duncan, who attends MiraCosta College. “I thought if I did this, maybe more people will be more accepting of it.”

The women said they received a few glares from people on the street, but mostly support from their fellow marchers. They said that no one had tried to touch or harass them.

Many organizations were present at the Women’s March in San Diego. Some of the major donors for the march were Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union), San Diego Now (National Organization for Women), Center for Community Solutions, Run Women Run and Moms Demand Action.

Aztec troupe Danza Mexicayotl performed on North Harbor Boulevard, drawing a crowd around their dancers and drummers. They played indigenous instruments and burned copali, an herb used for cleansing, as they spun and chanted. In the middle of the performance an older woman held a sign in Spanish that said, “Abuelitas contra Trump” (Grandmothers against Trump).

Windwalker and the MCW, which stands for Multicultural Women, welcomed people at the County Administration Building with drums and songs. Windwalker leads a female indigenous drum band in Lakeside. She said she is a third generation medicine woman of matrilineal nations;  and a descendant of the Micmac, Cherokee and Lenape.

Windwalker said she marched to support her daughters, granddaughter and her daughters-in-law, along with indigenous women around the world.

The Women’s Marches across the U.S. are some of the largest in modern history. Organizers intend for them to be the first of many. They said they plan to continue to fight in San Diego and across the nation for what they believe in for the entirety of Trump’s presidency.

Many men marched alongside women to express their support. Photo by Melissa de Pineres