Local News

OC Women’s March Draws Thousands

Between 10,000-12,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Santa Ana for the fourth annual O.C. Women’s March on January 18. The march was to promote women’s rights, equality, representation in government, and a whole host of progressive causes, including reproductive rights, health care, climate action, native rights, and more.

Before the march began, the people gathered to hear from speakers that included local Native leaders, OC congressmember Katie Porter, and others.

“Why are we here today?” asked event MC Adele Tagaloa. “We are here because we are tired of being harassed, abused, underpaid, and ignored…People are marching for economic and social justice for every community, and civil rights for everyone. We are marching for human rights, justice for people of color, the right to love who you will…Women are marching for our reproductive health care rights and the right to make our own personal health decisions.”

The event began with a blessing led by a group of women representing local Native American tribes.

“We remember the generations of all women of all races and creeds who had the courage to march in the past so we could gather and march here today,” said Lupe Lopez-Donaghey, a descendant of the Otomi/Yaqui tribes.  “We want to thank you for including Native Women of these lands.”

Orange County Congressmember Katie Porter, elected in the historic 2018 midterm election, said, “For the fourth year now, the Women’s March has brought us together to create a platform for men and women and kids to lift up the voices of everyone who feels like they are being silenced by this President…When we have the courage to organize, to speak up, and to fight back, we have the power to make real change, to move our country forward.”

Porter hi-lighted the current struggle for women’s health and reproductive rights.

“The administration is in court right now fighting to take away protections for women’s health care,” Porter said. “Too many women don’t have access to basic reproductive health care. Every single day, the administration is trying to build those barriers higher and higher. And if we don’t fight back, the crisis of access is only going to get worse. If we don’t fight back, some women are going to die. You fight back with your voice and you fight back with your vote.”

Porter cited the energy created by the Women’s March as contributing to the increasing number of women elected to office. These local elected officials were called onto the stage.

Kaelyn Dunnel, a junior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School where she is the co-president of the debate team, model United Nations, and Save the Children Clubs was the final speaker.

“I’m worried about my future. I’m worried that through the small window of the classroom door there will come a fast, murderous bullet. I worry that there will be no future for my children because there will be no Earth. I worry that the next Maya Angelou or James Baldwin will be shot and killed before they can write the first word. I worry that wearing a tank top might be seen as an invitation to invade my body, a body that the government is trying to regulate and control. And I worry that only a heterosexual couple can hold hands in public. This is why we march. We are here today to stand for what we believe in: equity, freedom, and justice,” Dunnel said.

Here are some photos from the March, which wound its way through the streets of Downtown Santa Ana.