By Ana Ceballos
On the first day of President Donald J. Trump’s tenure, millions of women gathered in Washington, D.C. and cities around the country, to protest Trump’s divisive campaign comments, more specifically the belittling of women.
With chants and signs, the flood of men, women and children, that police estimate reached between 30,000 and 40,000, expressed their opposition to the president’s intent to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood, as well as Trump’s continuous disparagement of women that include, among many insults, his lewd “grab them by the pussy” statement. The core theme of the march being meant to reiterate that women’s rights are human rights.
On Saturday morning, the City of San Diego became a sea of pink and signs as the march put downtown vehicular traffic to a stop for several hours. The San Diego Trolley and ride-sharing services were saturated by protesters, causing delays at trolley stops and city streets within downtown San Diego, nearing the Civic Center Plaza Fountain.
The official Facebook event for the local march stated 27,000 would be attending, but attendance far surpassed this number. It took about two hours for demonstrators to reach their destination at the San Diego County Administration Building. By the time the first protesters arrived at that building, located at the Waterfront Park, a mile-long tail of people continued the march.
At the march, a diverse set of signs showed the concerns of a diverse set of people in the county. Chicanas and Latinas were presented with loudspeakers in hand shouting: “Viva la Mujer. Viva!” Female members of San Diego’s Danza Mexi’cayotl were also present wearing typical clothing ready to perform their dance, while holding incense and beating their drums.
Jessica Vallejo, a 25-year-old San Diego State student, carried a sign that said “Latina and Educated.” She held it up and proud as rain began to pour. Even with the rain falling, she chanted and kept her sign up.
“This is to show that not everyone who is of Mexican origin is illegal and uneducated just as Donald Trump has said,” Vallejo said. “We all deserve equality and equal treatment.”
Vallejo was among the thousands that day that amassed in the city, perhaps as a way to immerse herself in a like-minded sea of people who share the same worries of a Trump presidency, as well as the disappointment of failing to elect the first female president, after Democrat Hillary Clinton’s bid for the seat ended in defeat even after winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.
After a mile-long walk, 63-year-old Maria De Los Angeles Figueroa, held up a sign reading “Abuelitas contra Trump,” or “Grandmothers against Trump” in Spanish. Figueria was accompanied by her 10-year-old grandson, who was also protesting Trump’s polarizing campaign promises, specifically those targeting undocumented immigrants.
“I’m walking for my grandchildren and the elderly’s right,” Figueroa said. “I’m also walking for all the ‘abuelitas’ that couldn’t come out here to march. I’m doing it for them.”
Among Figueroa’s biggest concerns is that Trump may get rid of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which she says will directly affect her family.
“They are our future,” Figueroa said. “He can’t do that to the future.”
Throughout the march, children were seen in great numbers. A two-year-old girl was seen carrying a small sign with the words “Women unite” as she sat on her mother’s shoulders. Two girls wielding signs also stood on top of their car, which was stopped due to the flood of protesters on the street, and shouted to the crowd in support of the cause.
Early reports out of Washington D.C. estimate that the march in the city, which ignited protests across the world, attracted between 200,000 to 500,000 demonstrators. According to the Washington Post, there were about 230,000 more metro trips on the day of the march that on Inauguration Day.
It is believed that 3 million individuals attended marches around the world in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. International cities included London, Paris and Berlin. And San Diego participants, who showed up and shattered attendance expectations, now hope the movement continues and the fight keeps on going past Day 1 of the Trump administration.