Hundreds of thousands showed up for the second time on the streets of downtown LA, in cities across the country and around the globe. On the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the march was focused on mobilizing the vote.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office estimated the crowd in Los Angeles to be 600,000, while those who organized the march said the figure was higher. While many carried Anti-Trump signs as well as signs to support DACA, reproductive freedom, the central theme was getting out the vote.
Groups of people from the San Fernando Valley traveled to downtown Los Angeles to participate, including the West Valley Resistance, a grassroots organization that has been publicly calling for Trump’s impeachment and forced removal from office.
City Councilmember Nury Martinez, who represents the Northeast San Fernando, called for women to run for office.
“There are only two women on L.A.’s city council, this is unacceptable,” she said.
A small group of women known as the West Valley Resistance (WVR) gather once a week for private meetings in Woodland Hills. They are working with other anti-Trump groups seeking signatures for petitions calling for impeachment.Politicians shared the stage with celebrities. Actor Eva Longoria who has often been active in giving her support for political causes was among the long list of those who spoke.
“People thought last year was just a march. But this is a movement,”
she announced, to loud cheers.
“No matter your race, gender or immigration status, after this year of racist, sexist rhetoric coming out of Washington, showing up today and being counted matters.”
Longoria said the “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements have gained the attention of the world, and added that change will come by voting.
“Your vote is the most powerful tool at your disposal to build the kind of community that you want, whether it’s locally or nationally. Think about those who don’t have that right; they are DREAMers, refugees, children, janitors, nannies who don’t have documented legal status. So if you want to be heard, you need to vote,” Longoria said. “Today, we march, but tomorrow we make the words we say count.”
Viola Davis also referenced the “Me Too” movement, and said she is typically introduced as an award-winning actor, but described her early years as “one of poverty and a childhood that was robbed from me.”
“That’s what allows me to connect and to know that every day that we breathe and live we have to bring up everyone with us,” Davis said. “I stand in solidarity with all the women who raised their hands,[to stand up against sexual abuse], because I know it wasn’t easy.”
Davis said she is speaking for the “Me too’s” because “I am also a ‘Me too.’”
“The women who don’t have the money and don’t have the constitution and who don’t have the confidence and who don’t have the images in our media that give them a sense of self-worth enough to break their silence that is rooted in the shame of assault,” she said.
Davis told the massive crowd that it’s not just about clapping and shouting, “it’s about keeping it rolling once you go home.”
Singer Melissa Ethridge brought the Gay Men’s Chorus on stage with her. “Brothers and sisters and everything in between, we are changing the world and the change becomes with ourselves,” said Ethridge, who sang the song, “Uprising of Love” with the chorus. She asked the crowd, “Are you a voter, Are you strong, Are you powerful, Are you loving yourself,” and with each question the crowd enthusiastically shouted back, “Yes I am!”
The march was live-streamed on Facebook and hashtag driven campaigns with the mottos “Hear Our Vote” and “Power to the Polls.”
Marchers were encouraged to work together toward November via social media by texting: P2P to RTVOTE .