Everybody knew the way to San Jose for the 2nd Women’s March—“Hear Our Vote”—on Jan. 20, the morning after the U.S. government’s midnight shutdown. It was one of many world-wide marches that weekend, unifying like-minded people in the support of human rights for all.
Varied estimates put the crowd at 20,000 to 40,000 (as many as in 2017). Starting at 11 a.m. in San Jose, they marched eight-tenths of a mile, from San Jose City Hall along Santa Clara St. to Guadalupe River Park for a rally at Arena Green East.
Some wore pink “pussy” hats, a few were in costume and many carried homemade signs uplifting human rights. The last marchers arrived at the jam-packed park, which holds 40,000, at 12:40 p.m.
Rosie the Riveter, early American suffragettes, Fred Flintstone and Princess Leia from “Star Wars” joined the parade of marchers. Super Girl rode on her dad’s shoulders and the Grupo de Solidaridad carried a giant President Trump puppet. They were happy to share their reasons for marching.
“I came to the march for so many different reasons—DACA, the fundamental rights of human beings, State SB 562 (the Healthy California Act), working women….,” said Terry Gascay from Los Gatos, wearing Rosie the Riveter attire.
One goal of the march was to encourage participation in the 2018 midterm elections and garner votes for the qualified women on the ballots.
“I’m proud and inspired to see so many women here. It’s going to get people together. We have the power to change with grass roots organizing, to change corruption in government,” said Gascay.
“I believe it’s the right thing to do, to stand up for what I believe in with like-minded people,” said Howard Friedman from San Jose, marching with his wife and friends. “My mother is in my heart. My mother raised me to have this mindset—to believe in social justice for all people. I really do hope we’re able to fix the great illness in this nation that divides it.”
Leaders of some faiths were recognizable by their clerical collars or stoles.
“Marching with everyone is part of living out our faith in a visible way. One of our foundational Christian beliefs is that every person is created in the image of God,” said the Rev. Hardy H. Kim, pastor of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. “But the truth is that as Christian citizens of this country, we haven’t done all that we can to make sure that the laws and social reality reflect that belief.”
Moms and dads brought their kids to be part of the dawn of women’s history in 2018.
“I’m super moved to be here, trying to explain to my kids the importance of the event. They didn’t seem to understand how women and men aren’t equal,” said Kristin White from Cupertino. “It’s a wonderful day. It’s a wonderful experience.”
“I feel excited seeing everyone together,” said White’s daughter, eight-year-old Michaela, holding a sign alongside her six-year-old brother, John. Her sign read “Girls are awesome!” His read “I am the future and I know everyone is equal.”
“A lot of things happening right now [in this country] are blatantly disturbing and don’t stand for what I believe in. I believe in inclusion,” said John Bondad from San Jose, holding his arm around his four-year-old daughter.
The march ended about 2:30 p.m., leaving the volunteer organizers exhilarated and proud.
“We’re thrilled that we had a successful, peaceful and inspiring day. Our speakers are all local women and our message of tolerance, getting involved and inspiration really resonated with the marchers,” said Women’s March San Jose spokesperson Colleen Pizarev.
“But our work does not stop with the rallies. In fact, it just begins. We are starting our yearlong campaign ‘March into Action,’ where we hope our marchers will take the positive energy from the march and use that to make our community a better place for everyone,” said Pizarev.
Visit www.womensmarchbayarea.org/events-san-jose/ for a listing of upcoming “March into Action” events—some this week.