Women’s March on Sacramento Gathers Thousands at the State Capitol
By Samreen Siddiqui
On January 21st, 2017, the eagerly awaited Women’s March on Sacramento brought together thousands of people in order to protest the direction that our country has taken with the new leadership in Washington. According to the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Police Department, around 20,000 people participated in this event at the California State Capitol. Participants here included people of all ages, genders, races, and religions, all contributing to the many causes protested which included basic human rights, equality between genders, and social justice.
According to the organizers who made this all happen, this wasn’t an anti-Trump rally. This gathering instead, peacefully fought for the rights that are at risk of being taken away under this new presidency. With the assurance of having thousands of people in Sacramento and millions worldwide who participated in this protest, the speakers and the crowds felt more at ease knowing that that their voices are being heard collectively, they can now revolutionize their concerns together.
The march started at 10:00 AM at Southside Park, and ended at the Capitol building at around 10:30 AM. After that the rally was planned to start at noon, but coordinators rushed to start it earlier, because of the huge increase in attendance and the hurried speed of the march. You could say that the attendees were so eager to fight for what they believed in, that they hurried through that program segment to attend the rally. And once the rally started, there was nothing to hold them back from the topics covered by the speakers and the participants in the crowd.
The Honorable Darrell Steinberg, Mayor of the City of Sacramento, started his speech after a warm introductory welcome by emcee Tracie Stafford. In awe of the huge number of people in attendance, Steinberg talked about how proud he was of not only the people of Sacramento, but of the country as a whole for using peaceful protests wisely (according to Heavy.com, over 600 cities hosted this same event). He also introduced many government officials involved behind the scenes and especially Sheryl Evans Davis, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, who spoke after him. Davis, with a strong voice, lifted up the energy of the crowd even more, as she described her wish of seeing more women in high government positions. The crowd erupted with cheers, and the mood became one for women’s empowerment.
After that, many other powerful speeches supported and explained reproductive rights, equal pay, health care, and more. Also, a great deal of support was given to the Latino, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities. The proceedings wrapped up at around 4:00 PM.
As a Muslim, this experience gave me the courage to speak out even more about the changes I want to see happen in this country (I have not shied away from speaking out in the past). As 11-year-old Women’s March on Washington Youth Ambassador Kennedy Schoennauer said in her speech here, “I have to be the change I want in this world.”
The new leadership in Washington isn’t going to discourage us from fighting for the equality and social justice that we have dreamed about for all of our lives. It took us a while to believe this, since the disappointment of the outcome of the last Presidential Election. But it’s become necessary that we use that disappointment and put it towards the effort needed to actively make this world a better place. “Rise up” was a popular saying on many signs that I saw at this rally and that is exactly what all of us need to do.