Thursday, January 18 , 2018, 11:17 pm | Fair 56º


Local News

Santa Barbarans Prepare for Local and Regional Women’s Marches After Inauguration Day

In addition to marches in Santa Barbara and Lompoc, many locals are bussing up to San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles

Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee members hold a meeting at Santa Barbara City College, where 10 buses will meet to transport marchers to Los Angeles Saturday morning.
Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee members hold a meeting at Santa Barbara City College, where 10 buses will meet to transport marchers to Los Angeles Saturday morning. (Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee photo)

Hundreds of local residents plan to hit the streets Saturday to take part in various Southern California versions of the Women’s March on Washington, a grassroots rally whose main message is “that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”

While some are making the 2,400-mile trek to the event’s Washington, D.C., epicenter, which organizers expect will draw as many as 200,000 people, others are spending the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration at marches in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

“I think of Santa Barbara as a politically active and aware place, and a town that for the most part is supportive of its diversity and the different groups who live here,” said Helen Murdoch, a social studies and technology integration coach with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, who is helping organize Santa Barbara’s event.

The rally, she said, is to help make “people aware that there is support for women and various communities out there” in today’s politically uncertain climate.

“It’s not, for me, an anti-Trump march. It’s more about supporting women’s issues: supporting Planned Parenthood, women’s health issues, women’s economic opportunities, equal pay,” she said.

The Santa Barbara event starts at noon at De La Guerra Plaza, and is scheduled to begin the march at 1 p.m. down State Street to Gutierrez Street, before heading back up State Street. 

The rally’s speakers will include state Assemblywoman Monique Limón and Planned Parenthood’s Central Coast CEO Jenna Tosh, said Julie Mickelberry, the vice president of community engagement for the local Planned Parenthood organization.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 750 people had committed to going on Facebook, with another 1,400 listing themselves as interested in the event.

The Women’s March on Washington was organized following a presidential campaign that witnessed numerous degrading remarks by Trump that were directed at women and racial and religious minorities, as well allegations of past sexual misconduct by the president-elect.

The rally’s platform also includes a diverse array of social-equality and civil-rights issues related to race, gender and sexual orientation.

In November’s election, Santa Barbara County voters favored former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a nearly 2-1 ratio over Trump.

Organizing 10 full buses to Los Angeles is the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee, a political action committee that promotes women’s and feminist values.

Committee President Catherine Swysen said roughly 600 people are taking the buses.

Marchers in San Luis Obispo prepare for the city’s rally with a sign-making session. Click to view larger
Marchers in San Luis Obispo prepare for the city’s rally with a sign-making session.  (Women’s March San Luis Obispo photo)

“The response was overwhelming,” Swysen said.

She said the $30 cost for riders is to defray transportation expenses, and that scholarships are available to cover it. (Those interested in getting on the bus waiting list or inquiring about a scholarship can contact [email protected])

The Los Angeles march takes off at 10 a.m. from Pershing Square and finishes up at City Hall. Bus-takers are gathering at 6 a.m. at Santa Barbara City College.

Santa Barbara County residents will also be joining marches in San Luis Obispo, which kicks off at 10 a.m. at Mitchell Park, and in Ventura, which commences at 10 a.m. at Plaza Park.

A Women’s March in Lompoc is also planned for Centennial Park at 11 a.m.

Mickelberry said that the approach Washington takes in addressing Women’s March issues could have especially powerful implications for Planned Parenthood.

Congressional Republicans took the first steps last week to defund the health-care provider as part of their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

She said 36,000 patients come to Planned Parenthood centers along the Central Coast for their health care.

In addition to fighting for the organization, “we’re also going to be fighting for the rights of young people, people of color, immigrants and people of all faiths, backgrounds and incomes,” Mickelberry said.

More than 50 Democratic members of Congress have opted to skip Friday’s inauguration at the United States Capitol Building.

Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal (D–Santa Barbara) issued a statement Tuesday saying he will be attending.

“I am not attending this inauguration in celebration of a man that I do not respect, but rather to bear witness to our democratic institutions,” he said in the statement.

“I want him to see the face of a Mexican immigrant newly elected to serve as the first Latino representative for the Central Coast, and to know that the many groups he has disparaged and attacked over the course of his campaign have a strong voice in our government,” Carbajal said.

The freshman congressman added that he also plans to take part in the Washington march Saturday, “to send a clear message to our new president about the values we stand for as a country.”

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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