The San Luis Obispo community joined cities all over the world in the first Women's March Jan. 21, 2017. Hanna Crowley | Mustang News

Eight to ten thousand women, men and children took to the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo on Saturday for the Women’s March. Women’s March. Signs of protest and empowerment bobbed above a sea of people standing in solidarity with millions of other protesters around the world. Messages of equality among gender, race, religion and sexuality were shared, along with messages of resistance against the election of President Donald Trump, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Some of these marchers told Mustang News why they decided to join the movement.

Pat Crowe

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“I was brought up by refugee parents who fled the Holocaust. The hatred, the bigotry, the [misogyny] — those are stories I grew up with when my parents talked about fleeing Hitler. That was when I realized I had to do something proactive. But the other part of it is that though I’m a realtor by profession, I volunteer for Make-A-Wish. Many of my Wish kids, like this one [the girl on the sign], are covered by the Affordable Care Act. And when they talk about life and death, it feels like an exaggeration, but the truth is that these children were born with pre-existing conditions. This little girl Zoe was born with half a heart; what’s going to happen if she loses her Affordable Care Act insurance? I have a lot of Make-A-Wish kids with cancer. So as a mom and a grandma and now a great grandma, it scares me to death that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed. That’s my main stand today.”

Joyce Metzler (left) and Jane Bostedt (right)

Anjana Melvin | Mustang News

Bostedt: “I’m here to make sure our rights are protected, the ones we fought for in 1960s and ‘70s, that we feel are at risk right now. And also diversity, that that’s embraced by everybody and not forgotten by this administration.”

Metzler: “And women’s right to choose. It’s not up to us to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ or judge anyone.”

Bostedt: “I was sexually assaulted by a man when I was working in my late 20s. Grabbed me like Mr. Trump bragged about grabbing women. And it totally offended me that people could vote for a man who bragged about doing such a thing. It was a terrible experience, one that I’ve never forgotten. And I think all young women should feel safe.”

Metzler: “I had one chase me around a desk. He was married, I was married. But it didn’t make any difference, but during that time they got by with it because there was no accountability for men harassing women.”

Bostedt: “Planned Parenthood provided me my medical care in college. Not just birth control, but my [medical] exams, everything. And the idea that they want to take support away from that makes my head explode.”

Metzler: “When I was going to Planned Parenthood, I never heard anything about abortion. When I was going, that’s how I stayed healthy; that’s how I got my yearly exams because a lot of young women don’t know to get their yearly exams. So when I became aware, I went to Planned Parenthood because they were cheaper.”

Bostedt: “I didn’t have insurance when I was in college. And college students in a year won’t have insurance, will they?”

Metzler: “Yeah, we have quite a few pet peeves.”

 Christopher Rose and Susi Bernstein

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Bernstein: “I just wanted a large number of people to show up so the government knows that not everybody is the same as the president and his cabinet. I want to make sure that people around the world know that we’re not all the same and we don’t tolerate some of the things that have been said.”

Rose: “I support the success of our new President Donald Trump, for some of the things he’s saying such as income equality. But this is a warning that our constitutional rights need to be defended firstly. As we move forward, we just want to make sure that we enjoy freedom of gathering, freedom of speech, equal rights for everybody including women [and] minorities. This is just a notification to him that we will firstly defend the constitutional rights of
all Americans.”

David and Sherrie and Amido

Anjana Melvin | Mustang News

Sherrie: “We’re here because we’re a mixed couple and we want a society that’s going to accept us and our children and to go forward and not backward. We just feel that Trump has divided the country in regressive ways, not progressive ways. And we’re here to
voice our concern.”

David: “[I’m marching] in support of women. It’s a moral issue also in how we teach each other. So when we treat each other better, then we can move forward progressively.”

Carly Rogers and her daughter, Rylan

Anjana Melvin | Mustang News

Rogers: “I’m crying right now looking at the fact that all these beautiful people have to get together to say that we’re equal. Being women, being proud, but that we have to say it in 2017, I’m speechless. I just can’t believe we have to do this. And to have a two-year-old daughter, I told her we’re coming today to march with women because we are equal and we are able and we deserve respect.”

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