In 2017, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the nation in the first Women’s March — with a reported 10,000 participants in San Luis Obispo. In 2018, they marched again. And once again, the community plans to march at Women’s March SLO 2019, “Truth to Power,” on Jan. 19.
The march through SLO
The march will start at Mitchell Park at 9 a.m. and make its way through downtown San Luis Obispo and back to the park. Before the march, a rally will feature keynote speakers Nicole Brydson, Leola Dublin Macmillan and Rita Casaverde. The rally will also showcase performers Dian Sousa, A. Rosalind Crew, Noach Tangeras, Rachel Santa Cruz and Leo Matthews. After the march, Hot Tina will speak and additional music will conclude the event.
“We want people to be inspired, be hopeful and know that people are getting involved in creating positive change,” Addis said. “We are peaceful, but also truthful and powerful.”
Why does the San Luis Obispo community keep marching?
Events from the past year, including the Kavanaugh hearing, the Larry Nassar trials, the March for Our Lives and the record-breaking number of women elected to Congress inspired the theme “Truth to Power.” Last year’s events will have a profound effect on this year’s march, Women’s March San Luis Obispo Organizer Dawn Addis said.
“We see it in different ways, through #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter,” Addis said. “We want to continue to help be that voice for people to speak their truth.”
Why students are marching
More than 1,000 people, including students, RSVP’d to the event’s Facebook page. Some students will march as individuals, while others will as part of an on-campus organization. Agricultural science senior Audrey Lent will be marching for the second year with Her Campus, the online magazine for women at Cal Poly.
“I was so inspired by all the strong women and men who marched [last year],” Lent said. “I was proud of the way the community came together.”
While each person may have their own reason for marching, many share a common goal of equality and justice. Addis said a major reason why they march is as a response to administration’s handling of Title IX investigations and responses to sexual assaults on and off campus.
“I think people are marching to fight for equal rights for women — especially our right to safety in our town,” Lent said.
Some Cal Poly alumni will march as well. For history alumna Kailyn Pope, who will be attending her third march, the marches are an opportunity to explore what the community can do better.
“How can we make this march and this community more accountable and inclusive of more people, not just white women?” Pope said.
Pope said one of the issues Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo still face is lack of diversity and inclusivity in the community.
“I think one of the bigger issues is, [for] women of different racial backgrounds or ethnic identities, I feel like there is a lack of diversity, not only at Cal Poly but in San Luis Obispo in general, and not only elements of race, but elements of gender and sexuality,” Pope said.