Thousands of people–both women and men–gathered at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Riverside on Saturday Jan. 20 for this year’s Women’s March.
People marched 12 blocks (or 1 mile) from the courthouse through 11th Street near the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Mission Inn, and Main Street.
The event was organized by an array of social justice and political groups, who adamantly expressed how women’s issues intersect with immigration, poverty and homelessness, sexual assault, criminal justice, environmental, LGBTQIA, and labor rights issues to name a few.
“Women’s rights are [also] human rights,” said Camilla Bradford. “We are here and we’re speaking out.”
This year’s march also focused on sexual harassment and assault–issues that are being addressed through the #metoo and #timesup national movements.
Deaf actress and activist Terrylene Sacchetti spoke on behalf of the women whose hearing impairments have made them unfortunate victims of sexual abuse. She told the thousands in attendance she and others will no longer be accepting that.
“We deaf women need to register and vote,” Sacchetti expressed in sign language.
Other speakers spoke about the racial and economic barriers women of color continue to endure. For example, many African-American and Latino women continue to be incarcerated disproportionately, Starting Over Executive Director and Lawyer Vonya Quarles said. She called to question the commitment of white women, who she believes is the new growing population inside prisons.
“It’s coming after you, white women, and I will stand with you in this fight,” Quarles said. “But we have to reciprocate. I will never vote against my own interests or yours.”
Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective organizer Alondra Naves called on people to use their platforms to “go beyond the vote” to help immigrant women.
“We ask that you use your privileges to support local efforts to end immigrant imprisonment,” she said. “We ask that you take our words to heart today and leave this march with an understanding that there is still work to be done and calls to be made.”