Women’s March calls for action after historic turnout

The Women’s March on Washington has launched a new campaign called “10 Actions for the first 100 Days” after more than 200,000 women, men and children joined sister marches throughout the Bay Area on Saturday.

The campaign sets out 10 actions over the course of 100 days, according to the Women’s March site. The first action asks supporters to address their senators with postcards about what issues matter most.

More than 5 million people participated in sister marches across 68 countries. An estimated 100,000 people joined the San Francisco Women’s March, according to Renee McKenna, who led the event, which also acted as a nonpartisan celebration of both human and women’s rights.

Alameda resident Misha Bonaventurar, 43, chants into a megaphone in downtown Oakland, Calif., during the Oakland’s Women’s march on Saturday, January 21, 2017 (Mason Rockfellow/ Xpress).

“This started from one woman’s idea on the night of November 8 and the passion and the power and the energy that people haveand it’s not just womentoward wanting to do something positive is so inspiring,” said McKenna. “The generosity that people (have), to me, this is the best of America.”

McKenna originally planned to attend the Women’s March on Washington, but after posting on Facebook, she quickly became the lead organizer for the San Francisco Women’s March.

“I want (marchers) to take away a sense of togetherness and community and connection and compassion and caring that they can bring with them to sustain and support them both individually and in the actions they want to take going forward,” said McKenna. “This is only the beginning.”

Marches were also held in San Jose, Walnut Creek and Oakland, where thousands of people participated in the events.

Cathy Wang, an organizer for the Walnut Creek Women’s March, predicted that 1,000 people would join the march. By the end of the day, she estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 people were in attendance.

“People were really motivated, and frustrated, and wanted to get out and do something,” said Wang. “We gave them a platform to do that.”

The march welcomed people from diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations and religious beliefs. McKenna invited demonstrators from the West Coast Walk for Life, a Pro-life campaign, to join the march.

“Sojourner Truth did not choose her moment and Malala Yousafzai did not choose her moment, but both of them, along with many, many she-roes have opened their mouths and have made themselves heard when it mattered most,” said Ruth McFarlane, Director of Development & Community Engagement at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “I’m honored to represent on this stage the LGBT community and an organization that’s been a beacon to me for my whole adult life.”

Michele Ochoa, a 30-year-old Berkeley resident joined the San Francisco Women’s March wearing a box full of wire hangers with signs on each surface that read “Free” and “TAKE ONE Courtesy of the DNC.”

“Women’s rights are important, especially when it comes to our reproductive rights. And for that to be taken away is just un-American and we’re going to have to relate to these people on that level,” said Ochoa gesturing to the wire hangers. “This is the reality of what’s happening.”

Many men also attended the marches in support of women.

“I’m here to support all the ladies — my wife, my wife’s mother, my mother, everybody who’s been oppressed by Donald Trump,” said Brad Hogarth, Associate Professor of Wind Ensemble and Conducting at SF State. “I’m here to support them.”

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