March for the Future


Photo by Grace Yarrow

Supporters gathered in downtown Petaluma to support the 2019 Women’s March.

Celeste Chavez and Violet Wang

The 2017 Women’s March empowered hundreds of women to run for political positions and encouraged millions more to vote. Two years ago, over four million women gathered in protest around the world in response to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and activists once again had the opportunity to rally for the third annual Women’s March on Jan. 19, 2019.

The Women’s March organization’s website announces, “the #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us,” and hosted the main event in Washington, D.C., starting at the National Mall and ending at the Lincoln Memorial, where a rally occurred. On a local level, nearly every state hosted at least one march this year, most of which were organized independently. The documented marches totaled over 100 and can be seen on the Women’s March website.

Although the movement continues to surge forward, its progress has been met with various setbacks: there have been recent accusations of the organization’s association with bigotrous groups, leading supporters to call for new management. The founder of the organization, lawyer and educator Teresa Shook, called out her co-chairs in a Facebook post which claimed they had tarnished the organization’s initial goals with anti-Semitism, racist rhetoric, and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. Various previous partners of the movement have chosen to detach themselves from it, such as the Democratic National Committee which removed itself from the Women’s March at the nation’s capital. These conflicts have led some organizations to withdraw support, leavingless than half of the original 550 groups from 2018 partnershipsto return in 2019.

Additionally, the independent Women’s March Alliance (WMA) organized a women’s march in New York City, a competing demonstration, on the same day. Women’s March has said that WMA refusing to cooperate with them, while the founder of the WMA says the national organization has “used bullying and threats to attempt to hijack the inclusive and beautiful Women’s March on NYC.”

In the wake of the conflicting nationwide organizations, smaller demonstrations of activism are rising in the community. The first Petaluma Women’s March took place on the same Saturday. Various students helped out before the event, such as senior Ashley Marty who, along with her Girl Scout troop, helped make signs and inform people of the march. Marty explains why she was involved in the movement,

“I believe that it is very important. I would like in the future for all women to be valued the same as men in the world and my daughter, if I have one, to be treated like I want myself to be and how I want everyone else to be,” said Marty.

Freshman Vasty Ortiz attended as part of Paquiyollotzin, the ballet folklorico of Petaluma, and explains why she went to show support,

“I attended the women’s march because it was a place where women of all races and backgrounds would be able to support one another. We performed as a group to entertain but to also show our support as a group,” said Ortiz.

Aside from the disunity and division between national women’s march organizations and advocates, the movement continues to resurface and has reverberated to small towns like Petaluma. Marty sums up the growth of the movement,

“If we get more people to come that shows everyone who doubts this movement that it’s important and that it’s happening no matter if they like it or not…even in our small town, this movement is reaching us here. It starts from small communities like us”.