Thousands traveled downtown for San Diego’s Women’s March to advocate for human rights and equality, joining with those marching in Washington D.C. and throughout the world.
People of all ages held homemade signs and wore shirts and hats in support of women’s rights. The large crowd chanted “We will not be stopped,” “Better together” and other phrases as they made their way around downtown.
“I marched to support the cause,” said Sera Smith, senior at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista. “When we unite, we remind the world and each other that we are united and no one, including Donald Trump, can hold us back.”
Many were happy about the diverse turnout at the event.
“I expected there to be men marching with their wives and stuff, but it was cool seeing middle-aged and older men wearing shirts and holding signs and marching with their kids and the whole family,” said Sophie Peeler, senior at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas.
Although the march was dedicated to women’s rights, many used the event to also protest newly elected President Donald Trump with signs declaring “Not my president” and “Women are the wall and Trump will pay” among others.
“I marched because our 45th president has consistently degraded and disrespected essentially every minority group in America: women, Latinos, Muslims, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans,” said Linnea Leidy, senior at San Dieguito Academy. “I’m not willing to sit and watch him continue to channel this discrimination into harmful policies.”
The crowd gathered at the San Diego Civic Center at 10 a.m. to listen to empowering speeches from women of the community before beginning the mile long march to the County Administration Center. The women giving speeches touched on issues reaching further than gender equality, announcing their support for education, LGBT rights and racial equality.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, representing the South Bay area of San Diego, expressed her support for women’s rights in her speech.
“I march because no men in Washington D.C. are going to tell me what the hell to do with my body,” she said.
Another speaker, Laurie Coskey, a CEO in the San Diego community, advocated for woman success in society. “Women need to be CEOs; women need to be elected; women need to be president,” she said, earning applauds from the crowd.
For some, it was the first time they attended an event like this.
“It was just nice to feel so bonded to everyone around [me]. This is the first time I’ve been to something like this and I definitely don’t think it’ll be the last,” Peeler said.
Many high school students attended the march, considering the event unique and inspiring.
“I really enjoyed the feeling of solidarity,” Smith said. “I was surrounded by so many people who are both different and like me; all fighting for the same cause and that was one of my best experiences.”
What I loved most was the overwhelming sensation of unity and strength,” Leidy said. “While there is definitely value in surrounding yourself with differing viewpoints, the disappointing election has had me feeling hopeless and alone for the past couple weeks, so marching with thousands of people who empathized with me and shared similar beliefs was incredibly inspiring.”