Tuesday, September 18 , 2018, 6:46 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Political Activism Takes Center Stage as Women’s March Returns to Santa Barbara

Amid a sea of pink ‘pussy hats’ and signs protesting Donald Trump, speakers call for more women to be elected to political office

 

Rallying on behalf of female political activism and social change, an estimated 2,000 demonstrators converged on downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday for the second annual Women’s March.

De la Guerra Plaza overflowed with women wearing pink knit “pussy hats” and their allies holding colorful signs while chanting slogans.

More than 1,400 community members marked that they “went” to the event on Facebook.

The Women’s March movement was organized last year to protest the election of President Donald Trump. Santa Barbara’s anniversary demonstration, and hundreds like it across the country Saturday, has since expanded to include calls to support women’s rights, human rights, civil liberties and social justice.

No marching took place in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday, however, because local law enforcement resources were still assisting recovery efforts following last week’s deadly flooding and mudslides in Montecito.

Hours earlier, search and rescue teams located the body of Faviola Benitez Calderon, a 28-year-old mother of two, whose 10-year-old son also died in the deluge.

About 30 minutes into the rally, Santa Barbara police blocked off East De la Guerra Street to keep the event confined to the plaza in front of City Hall.

Using the theme “Power to the Polls,” this year’s Women’s March events were aimed at empowering and inspiring women to run for political office and to vote.

“We feel the pussy power and the political power,” Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo exclaimed. “There’s two women on the Santa Barbara City Council — two out of seven. I don’t like that math. You don’t have to be an expert at math to know that we need more women on the city council.”

The crowd cheered as she spoke.

“Woman my age, we got used to sexism and misogyny ... and I fought it to get to be mayor of Santa Barbara,” Murillo said.

Also addressing the rally was Goleta Union School District trustee Susan Epstein, who is running for the Second District seat on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and recently attended a training session of EMILY’s List, a political action committee working to elect pro-choice women political candidates.

“I’d love to see some of the faces here today run for office,” Epstein said, adding that “thousands” of women have signed up as candidates since the 2016 election. “There’s incredible strength when women come together.”

Solvang resident Sandra Perez, who was wearing a pink knit hat, said she decided to participate because she wants to make sure that women are treated equally with men.

“I’m here to join my comrades — we matter,” she said. “We need to stand together and continue to push for change. Equal pay, respect, acceptance of our diversity, embrace each other and celebrate each other.”

The Santa Barbara event was hosted by the student-run organization Future Leaders of America, which introduced the guest speakers.

The day featured dance and musical performances, as well as multiple speakers from local organizations and Chumash women offering a prayer.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >