Monday, July 16 , 2018, 8:56 pm | Fair 67º


Local News

Thousands Join Santa Barbara’s Women’s March in Protest of Trump Presidency

Locals pack De la Guerra Plaza before marching down State Street in solidarity rally with Washington demonstrators


Thousands of South Coast residents thronged State Street in downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon to join the local Women’s March, one of hundreds of rallies that took place across the United States the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Hundreds of other locals also joined marches in Lompoc, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles in support of women’s rights and a bevy of other social issues that marchers fear could be cast aside under the new administration.

“We will work together to fight oppression, and we will work to protect the rights and freedoms we have fought so hard for,” Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D–Santa Barbara, told attendees before the Santa Barbara march began.

“Together united, we can, we will and we have achieved more.”

The afternoon began when marchers packed De la Guerra Plaza and the adjacent street to hear Limón, Mayor Helene Schneider, City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, Planned Parenthood California Central Coast CEO Jenna Tosh and others speak.

“We commit to standing up for ourselves, our families, for our women, for our children, for our immigrant communities, for LGBTQ members, for the less fortunate and for those who have been left voiceless,” Limón said.

The Women’s March on Washington was organized after Trump won a contentious presidential campaign, during which he made numerous derogatory remarks about women and racial and religious minorities, and allegations surfaced of past sexual misconduct.

The march platform included a diverse array of social-equality and civil-rights issues related to race, reproductive rights, sexual orientation, immigration status, faith and income level.

Early Saturday morning, 10 buses organized by the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee took some 600 locals to Los Angeles.

In the Nov. 8 election, Santa Barbara County voters favored Democrat Hillary Clinton by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over the Republican Trump.

On Friday, approximately 200 demonstrators gathered in downtown Santa Barbara and about 75 in Santa Maria to protest Trump’s inauguration.

At UC Santa Barbara, a few hundred students left class at midday Friday and gathered at Campbell Hall before marching into Anisq’Oyo Park in Isla Vista amid chants, drums and horns.

Schneider told attendees Saturday that showing up to the rally must be followed up with action and civic engagement.

“This can’t end today,” she said. “This is Day 1. We need Day 2, we need Day 3, we need Day 100, we need four years of days. Don’t give up, don’t despair.”

Armed with seemingly as many signs as there were people, marchers streamed down State Street from De la Guerra Plaza to chants of “love trumps hate,” “the people united will never be divided,” “my body, my choice” and “what do we want, women’s rights; when do we want them, 100 years ago.”

One group of marchers continued on to Pershing Park from Cabrillo Boulevard.

Santa Barbara police did not track the total number of participants, but Sgt. Riley Harwood estimated there were “a few thousand.”

“It was a much larger turnout than anyone anticipated,” he said, an assessment echoed by march organizers at the rally.

Harwood told Noozhawk there were no enforcement issues and that authorities hadn’t noticed any concurrent counter-protests.

“I think the purpose of this march is equality and women’s rights, and the solidarity that we all have in terms of our democracy,” said Heidi Holly of Santa Barbara, who found out about the march through a Facebook page started a week ago.

Many marchers wore pink, and many donned handmade caps with cat ears that have become a symbol of the solidarity marches.

“It’s the pussycat hat,” Holly said. “This is symbolic of women’s equality and rights and purpose.”

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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