Women’s March Takes Over Kings Beach
Hundreds of locals marched in Kings Beach to protest for women’s and civil rights
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As snowflakes silently fell, powerful voices rose chanting, “We are the popular vote,” and “love not hate, makes this country great,” at a sprawling scene in King’s Beach on Jan. 21, where hundreds of locals joined together to raise awareness of women’s rights and other civil rights.
The King’s Beach event was one of an estimated 650 events worldwide that post-inaugural Saturday in what has been deemed America’s largest protest. Signs reading, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” “I’m With Her,” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun(damental rights),” punctured the sky. Sierra Nevada College alumna Mary Hall, who attended the march, said that what is going on in our country justifies such protests.
“This election has presented a major polarity between people and their core values and it is alarming how different they are,” said Hall. “It’s not just politics anymore, this poses a threat to so many communities simply by negating the foundation of human empathy.”
Although the women’s issues brought out most participants, there was no shortage of men, children and families, a show of solidarity to challenge perceived potential threats to everything from abortion rights to general women’s health funding. Women’s health issues motivated SNC alumna Rachael Blum to attend.
“I was marching for women’s equality,” said Blum. “For equal pay. For the right for a woman to choose what is right for her body regarding health, birth control, abortions, and equal/easy access to these services. I marched for maternal rights; maternal leave, access to hospitals and proper care before, during, and after pregnancy.”
Just days after the Women’s March, Trump signed the Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving U.S. government funding. His decision to reenact the ban, which was previously lifted by Barack Obama, goes against what many women were marching for, and defunds organizations like Planned Parenthood, who provides contraceptives and other health services to women in need. According to Planned Parenthood, the loss of its services during Trump’s first term could cause 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2
million medically safe abortions, 2.1 million abortions performed through unsafe means, and 21,700 maternal deaths. The organization also said it will be unable to provide 1.5 million women with access to contraception every year.
“I was motivated to attend the march for the obvious reason I am a woman, but additionally because I am a woman who has accessed Planned Parenthood for health services, have exercised my civil and human rights to make extremely important body choice decisions, and want the same options for all females to continue to exist,” said Blum.
Apart from women’s health rights, many individuals were marching for several other reasons as well. For international snowboarder Veroniqi Hanssen, she is concerned how the U.S. will use its international influence, especially with Trump’s views on international affairs and climate change.
“I wanted to stand for women’s rights, the environment and human rights”, she said. “Reading about Donald Trump’s plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement, saying climate change isn’t real, defunding Planned Parenthood, taking away the Affordable Care Act with no real plans for a replacement and hearing him attack women and minorities, it’s insane. I’ve gotten so angry and upset about it and I’m not even American, but I felt like I wanted to do something and stand in solidarity and show support.”
As the march came to an end, thoughts and positive hopes for the future were discussed. It is clear that protests and rallies did not end with the Women’s March, it was simply the beginning.
“My hope for this movement is to see persistence and activism that is inclusive to all women and furthermore humans,” said Blum. “We need to be calling and leaving voicemails to the politicians that can make a difference and vote. Don’t let the march be over, let’s make the march the first chapter of a long movement and fight toward justice.”