Credit: Sofia Clark | Mustang News

This story was updated Jan. 11 to clarify information regarding RSVP for the event

At past San Luis Obispo Women’s Marches, one might expect to see thousands of people gathering, chanting and walking through the streets of Downtown San Luis Obispo to the tune of live music. This year’s Women’s March is going to look different. 

This year’s rally will be completely virtual, according to a Jan. 4 Women’s March SLO press release. The hour-long event will be streamed on Facebook on Jan. 23 at 10:30 a.m. and requests all attendees to RSVP online, yet it is not required to attend. 

While the event will be different this year given the online setting, Women’s March SLO Co-founder Dawn Addis said she hopes to offer a “fun, inspirational and hopeful rally that lights a fire under some people to take action.”

In an effort to create this atmosphere, the virtual event will showcase a lineup of speakers and musical performances. 

“People look to Women’s Marches for hope,” Addis said. 

Addis said that a Women’s March is relevant now more than ever. She said Kamala Harris’s Vice Presidential victory in the 2020 election is a monumental moment for women all across the country.  

“In the years past, we were usually marching to send a message to our current administration,” she said. “This year, not only are we sending a message, but we’re also celebrating a historic win.”

The theme for this year’s rally is “Power Up Democracy.” 

“We cannot get lazy about our democracy,” Addis said. “This is not our time to rest on our laurels. This is the time to really press forward.”

Environmental Management and Protection junior and Women’s March participant, Aine Javier, remains optimistic for this year’s rally. Javier attended the past two annual Women’s Marches and said that even though she prefers an in-person rally, she is excited to see the powerful speakers and believes it’s important to get together in any way possible. 

“I think it will still be successful and something that’s rewarding to attend,” Javier said. 

For both Addis and Javier the virtual rally has a silver lining. Both said that some people may not be able to attend an in-person rally, but an online event makes the rally accessible to anybody who would like to participate. 

Addis said they have the tools and planning skills necessary to make this year’s rally engaging and inspirational. She said planning the virtual rally was easier than past Women’s Marches. 

While past rallies were in-person events, most of the planning was online with only a few in-person meetings. 

“We’ve got it under our belt to be able to organize in a virtual world. It’s something we are used to,” Addis said. 

For this year’s Women’s March, Addis said she’s excited to explore the “hidden power of getting together in a virtual setting.”

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