While many from Los Angeles traveled to Washington D.C., to attend the official Women’s March on Washington in our nation’s capitol, those who opted to participate locally found themselves at the epicenter of a massive “sister march” in LA — an equally historic demonstration, estimated to number 750,000 strong.
Metro attempted to prepare and run more trains on Saturday, Jan. 21, but it wasn’t enough. Initial estimates from city officials estimated there would be 100,000. The public transportation system could not handle the thousands upon thousands who came from all points of the San Fernando Valley, Inland Empire, Orange County and beyond who wanted to “resist,” on the day following Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In the Northeast Valley, residents didn’t wait for the official march. At least one hundred residents marched in cold pouring rain from Pacoima to the Cesar Chavez Memorial as Trump was being sworn into office on Friday, Jan. 20.
In LA, on the morning of the march, each train, car and bus was filled with people crammed in like sardines. Groups included students and professors from CSUN, along with numerous other high school and college campuses. Many had friends drive them as far as they could and dropped them off because there was no parking to be found and walked on foot from Chinatown, Echo Park and other outlying areas. They hiked the remaining distance toward Pershing Square and City Hall. Others paid a 300 percent rate increase charge by Lyft to get them into the downtown area.
With streets blocked off and jammed with marchers, those arriving on any street downtown found, however, they may have not reached the point of the rally at city hall, for miles.
Surrounding streets were lined with marchers whose numbers were so large that huge groups of marchers formed multiple demonstrations which created simultaneous thunderous chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” referencing the large numbers of people of every age, ethnicity, some in wheelchairs, same sex couples. Fathers carried their children on their shoulders, many wore the symbolic pink “pussy hats,” as a message of strength and resistance to Trump.
The handmade signs were creative: “Trump Overcombs, We Shall Overcome,” “Neyt My President,” A teacher carried a sign reading, “My first graders are better prepared than you.” A young child carried a sign that read, “I want a President more mature than me.” Many women wore shirts proudly proclaiming themselves “Nasty Women,” A group of Latinas carried signs that read “ Viva la Mujer,” and “Chicana, Chigona and Proud.” Men carried signs reading, “I am a feminist,” and “Real Men Respect Women.”
Others carried signs reading “Proud to be an Immigrant, “, One man carried a sign reading “Canadian Men Respect Women,” and many carried signs of the recently departed Carrie Fisher with the words, “We are the Resistance.” Another sign read, “Girls just want to have Fun-damental rights.”
As people later reflected on the experience, a common thread was the discussion about the cooperation and polite support the marchers had for each other. Although LA’s march was massive and so dense at times not even one step could be taken forward, people attempted to help each other if someone needed to make a pathway through the crowd.
One marcher described the demonstration as a “loving march.” Her sign read, “It is patriotic to protest.”
From the stage speakers including LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis asked the marchers, “Can you be strong?” The crowd responded with thunderous applause. Supervisor Solis then asked, “What will you do next.?” The crowd responded with a popular chant of the day, “Hearts Open, Fists Up!”
Organizers for the Women’s March on Washington have organized various actions for those who want to stay involved. They have launched a new campaign called 10 actions/100 days. Their first action is for a postcard writing campaign to legislators For more information on what activities are planned next go to: www.womensmarch.com