When tens of thousands of people gather for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, Ventura County residents will be attending the sister march in Los Angeles to make a stand for human rights, civil liberties, diversity and compassion for humanity.
“We’re not marching against something — we’re marching for something,” said Kay Clark of Ventura, organizer of one local group effort.
“We’re marching for our community, we’re marching for inclusion, we’re marching for the climate,” Clark, 57, said. “We want the world to know these things are important to us.”
Clark unexpectedly took the lead on the trip to Los Angeles when she decided to participate in the march herself.
“I wanted to go to the march, and selfishly I was thinking this was logistically going to be a problem,” recalled Clark, who lives approximately 70 miles from L.A. “So I thought, let’s get a bus. And I put it on Facebook.”
Clark received such an overwhelming response on her personal Facebook page, she created a special page: Ventura County Women’s March in Los Angeles. As a result, spots on the bus filled within a matter of days.
“I got immediate responses — it was just crazy,” she said. “People are motivated.”
The bus will leave the morning of Jan. 21 from Ventura for Los Angeles, where an estimated 200,000 people are expected to be in attendance.
“Everybody is marching for their own personal reasons,” Clark said. “Everybody is personally affected by what is happening with the election. For me, I’m marching for inclusion, for women’s rights…. I’m marching for all the progress that we’ve made that’s in danger. I want to make sure our voices are heard and that we move forward with the progressive movement.”
Patrick and Wendy VanHorn, a husband and wife who live in Ventura, are among the 48 local residents who will be marching in LA with this particular group.
“Donald Trump is a misogynist. He’s an admitted adulterer, philanderer and serial groper,” Patrick, 62, said. “His actions, his stated beliefs and policies, and those of the Republican Party, will erase the gains women have achieved over the last 100 years.”
He is marching because he supports his wife, and the millions of women like her who believe that a Trump presidency threatens the fabric of American democracy.
“Women’s rights are human rights,” Patrick said. “We intend to make our presence known in numbers too big to ignore.”
A majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump, he added.
“He’s taking office only because of an outdated Electoral College that should have been abolished by constitutional amendment long, long ago,” he said. “We won’t be silenced or bullied.”
His wife is participating in the march because she believes that women’s rights are human rights.
“I believe it’s imperative for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump to stand up and be seen and heard,” Wendy, 53, said. “We will not sit by quietly while Trump and the Republican Party try to take away a woman’s right to choose, and strip millions of Americans of their health insurance.”
She added that “this is a watershed moment for America.”
“Just as women marched for suffrage, civil rights, and equal rights, it’s time for me to fight for my beliefs,” Wendy said. “It’s my duty as a citizen to do everything I can to send a message to every elected official in this country that the Trump agenda cannot stand.”
For Lola Haag, a senior who lives in Ojai, “I’m excited to go and pleased to show solidarity with other women regarding women’s issues, equal pay and equal rights.”
Haag is “deeply disturbed” by the expressions of complete disregard for women’s empowerment and the empowerment of people of color.
“I am marching for my grandmothers who were given too little credit for all the hard work they did side by side with my grandfathers,” Haag said.
She is marching for her mother, “who did not realize the power that she did possess,” as well as her adult daughter and daughter-in-law, “who are strong women and, along with my son and son-in-law are dedicated to raising strong girls.”
Haag is also marching for African American people “because they have waited too long for the equality that they deserve.”
“I’m marching for gay people who are so happy that they have marriage as an option and are now concerned that their rights will be taken away,” Haag continued.
She is also marching for poor people who do not have health insurance and desperately need it, for Muslim people who now live in fear in America where they came for safety, for Latinos who fear deportation, “and dreamers who worry that the dream is now an impossible dream,” Haag said.
Above all, “I am marching for myself,” Haag said. “I have worked hard on feminist ideals in my life. I am now a senior citizen and I do not want our hard-earned rights to be ripped away.”
For more information on participating in the women’s march in LA, go to womensmarchla.org. The event is free and open to all. For local marches, go to this story at wwww.vcreporter.com and watch for story in our print version next week, on Jan. 19.
Local marches planned inauguration day, day after
by David Michael Courtland
Local activists in Ventura and Oxnard will march in response to Donald Trump’s inauguration, with one march on the day after he gets sworn in as the 45th President of the United States and one the day after.
The Inauguration Day March Against Hate, will take place in Oxnard on Friday, Jan. 20, with many of the same groups participating, but aimed more specifically at that city’s immigrant community.
“Basically, it’s a call to this community that they’re safe with us,” said Raul Lopez of CAUSE, who said the march isn’t planned to be so much a protest as a resource rally.
“We want to send out the word to immigrants that we’re there for them,” explained Lopez, “so basically it’s a rally against hate and anything that might negatively affect our community.”
Lopez said that standing in solidarity with hundreds of other marches being held the same day, “helps people understand that there are resources available.”
In addition to the same groups as are participating in the Ventura March, Oxnard’s march will include MICOP, the resource center serving Ventura County’s Mixteco immigrant community.
Gathering at 1:30 p.m. in Camino del Sol Park at Rose Avenue and Camino del Sol, at 2:30 p.m. marchers will begin making their way to Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard, where a rally will be held at 5 p.m. Participating groups will be available at information tables. Other local groups that would like to have a table at the Oxnard event can call CAUSE at 805-658-0810.
Oxnard City Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez will be in Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March, ironically because she had bought tickets to attend the inauguration of Hillary Clinton.
“That’s not going to happen, so I’m attending the march,” Ramirez said. “It’s important because we have an incoming president who has verbally expressed disregard for the rights of women, the LGBT community and others.
“You can’t be silent about that,” Ramirez continued, “So this is just a way to let people know that this is just not acceptable.”
On Jan. 21, Justice for All’s March for Justice begins 10 a.m. at Ventura’s Plaza Park, 651 E. Thompson Blvd. Following the march at 12:30 p.m. there will be guest speakers, entertainment and a food truck. Participating groups will have tables with information and resources available.
“After the election, I kind of felt a calling to do something,” explained Catherine Pulisic of Justice for All, the group organizing Ventura’s march in support of “Muslims, the poor, undocumented,” and others who may feel threatened by Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
“We’re hoping this will be the start of a much bigger movement,” said Pulisic. “We want to stop having people talk and start having them do; we want to spark activism again.”
Pulisic said she was inspired by another march being held concurrently in Washington, D.C., on the same day, the Women’s March on Washington.
“It really kind of put energy back into the type of work we’ve been doing and should have been doing earlier,” said Pulisic, who majored in peace and justice studies at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.
She worked for the American Cancer Society before leaving to have children, who are another motivating factor for her newfound activism.
“It’s important for our kids to see how this works and what America stands for,” said Pulisic, and that they see the importance of being involved.”
Pulisic said the group’s goal is to have over 500 people participating in the march; as of Monday night the group’s Facebook page showed more than 400 people attending.
“A lot of people saw the election as a disappointment, but we have to realize we have the power to do something,” Pulisic said. “A lot of good things have come out of bad incidents, so I’m hopeful.”
Participating groups will have information tables, including Planned Parenthood, ARC, Amnesty International, Boys & Girls Club, Green Party, ACLU, Ventura County Concerned Citizens Committee, Mni Wiconi Pacifica, Ventura County Activists For Bernie Sanders, Democratic Club of Ventura, Diversity Collective Ventura County, Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, Stand Up For Racial Justice, Ventura County Climate Hub 360, Unitarian Universalist Church and Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Other local groups that would like to have a table at the Ventura event can message Justice for All at its Web page, https://www.facebook.com/justiceforallventura, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Catherine Pulisic at 805-218-5901.