The Women’s March started for me January 21st of last year in my hometown of San Jose. I was on assignment as a photojournalist for Silicon Valley De-bug. As I walked up to City Hall, I paused to take it all in – the streets were filled with people, fathers holding their children on their shoulders and tons and tons of women. The more I looked through the crowd, the more I began to recognize these beautiful faces. It was in that moment, I felt free and I started to find unity, strength and solidarity. Not only did I witness the start of a great movement, I participated in it. I have many reasons for attending again, the short answer is I believe in freedom of speech; being a woman in journalism this means everything to me! I feel it is my duty to represent.
Join me, and thousands of others as we march this Saturday, Jan. 20th for what is sure to be an impactful day regardless of age or gender. Although I will only be there for two hours I have a camera, media pass, volunteer t-shirt and I plan on making the best of it. I will march until noon and then I’ll be back to my barista life closing up the cafe. I really look forward to all the stories and experiences folks share with me.
Image by Michelle Murakamiart
As a community activist, my work is all about moving community forward. I have worked teaching urban youth and low-income families not fall through the cracks of our broken system. My acts of service have been my tools to talk about these issues and create dialogue and a space to grow. As a native and San Josean it breaks my heart to see the poverty and homeless rate, distrust between youth and police. I recently heard ICE was spotted in East San Jose. That is a problem for me. San Jose has always been a place where cultures fuse, intertwine and relate. Our people have historically been wronged, but I believe in the words of Corretta Scott King: “Struggle is a never ending progress. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” There will always be people working to divide the world with greed and oppression. It has been a continuous journey of learning, understanding, and confronting these issues. We must always look for opportunities to grow, heal and reconcile.
The Women’s March unifies and empowers us all to stand for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice. This march is not solely for women, but for strong, resilient leaders ready to voice concerns about injustice that reverses the progress we are making. It has taken a long time to find closure in my own womanhood. It has taken courage to talk about the wrongs that are unaddressed and it is time to confront the systems that enable this behavior. We the people must not be intimidated by the administration, don’t let threats or policies scare you off. Come and learn how to exercise your constitutional right, protest, petition and make your vote count. We understand that our voice is our greatest tool to influence and spark change. That is why we march.
On January 20th, over 33,000 registrants will gather to walk and celebrate the second annual Women’s March San Jose. The march will begin at 11am from San Jose City Hall and head down Santa Clara Street – an iconic street in downtown San Jose – ending at the Arena Green (located in between the Guadalupe River and SAP Center).
This is a place where our friends and family can celebrate the opportunity to empower and embrace one another. San Jose takes pride in diversity, we know this city was built by the hands of immigrant families, we take care of each other, we celebrate our religious freedoms, we respect our women, we accept our LGBTQ community and we choose to love despite our differences. It is our responsibility to live this thing out!
The social and political climate of our world is tense and confusing, but this is not the place to work against one another. No, this is a place where we directly engage in politics and advocacy. This is not a platform for political officials or candidates but for common folks. We let go of pride and ego to say, I am here for you and you belong here with me. This is a place where we all can show solidarity, respect for one another and progress.
Last year, this movement sparked a fire in me, we must move forward. I aim to capture as many beautiful marchers preparing for the movement. The lyrics from Johnny Swim “Some pray for revival, I’m already living one” remind me that I’m already doing the work and plan to continue to bring unity and develop dialogue for change.