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Women's March returns to Bay Area for fourth year

By Madeline King

Editor-in-Chief

“This is what democracy looks like!” Protesters shouted across the world on Sat., Jan. 18. While the fourth annual Women’s March drew a smaller crowd this year as part of a declining trend, thousands turned out in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose to rally for women’s rights and a myriad of other causes.

In San Jose, 7,500 people marched from City Hall to Arena Green downtown. Titled “Womxn’s March 2020” with the tagline “Our Power Counts,” this year’s San Jose march emphasized inclusivity on a number of fronts, including gender, age, and race. As the movement struggled amid changes in leadership and questions about inclusivity, this year’s speakers represented a multitude of organizations and causes, including representatives from the LGBTQ+ community and local high schools.

“I [spoke] about my experience with the climate strikes and how that ties into the theme that we all have to do our part in this political revolution to fight for our causes even when we feel like it’s so much easier to be apathetic,” Archbishop Mitty junior Helen Deng said after her speech at the San Jose rally. “Our power does count and we have to make our voices heard.”

The San Francisco march boasted 12,000 marchers and 30,000 rally attendees. Malia Cohen, former president of the San Francisco board of supervisors and the first black woman on the California Board of Equalization, told marchers, “It’s 2020 ladies, and we’ve got some cleaning up to do… If you’re angry, vote. If you’re tired, vote. If you’re hungry, if you’re homeless, vote.”

The Oakland march hosted 5,000, and many smaller events at locations including Walnut Creek, Alameda, and Pleasanton added hundreds to the national crowds.

While this year’s crowds continued a declinding trend in participation, organizers said that does not mean the anti-Trump movement is losing ground this election year. Instead, experts claim fewer people are coming to the march because others are finding different ways to further their causes, including local activism and work with political campaigns.

“The energy we saw after Trump was elected has spread to so many different actions for women’s empowerment,” Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan said.

The common theme between the regional marches was the focus on the upcoming state elections in March, as well as the general election this November, echoing the theme from past years and President Trump’s inauguration four years ago, which ultimately sparked the movement. Many protestors supported their nominee of choice both verbally and visually with a multitude of posters, including supporters for Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigeig, Andrew Yang, and Bernie Sanders.

(Sources: NPR, San Jose Spotlight, The Mercury News, ABC 7)

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