Women's March draws thousands to Santa Rosa in stand against Trump
The streets of downtown Santa Rosa were overtaken Saturday by a vibrant political rebellion as a crowd of thousands marched in solidarity with women, immigrants and others in a remarkable show of defiance against President Donald Trump one day after his inauguration.
Carrying signs and chanting slogans, demonstrators in the largest city on the politically liberal North Coast voiced grave concerns about the future of the nation under a leader whose stated objectives represent an assault on values they hold dear.
To them, Trump’s presidency jeopardizes the nation’s progress on a range of fronts, including the rights of women, immigrants, Muslims and same-sex couples, as well as efforts to combat climate change. Their message Saturday, shouted from jam-packed streets and scrawled on hand-made signs, added up to a vow to meet the new president head-on as he seeks to impose a strong rightward shift in government and roll back many of the hallmark achievements of the Obama era.
Former Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, told the crowd gathered in front of City Hall that Trump’s policies threaten to return America to the 1950s.
“We want our president to know we are not going back,” Woolsey said to applause. “We want to let him know we are not going to stay in our bubble in the North Bay, in Northern California, where we actually get it.”
She was one of several speakers at the Women’s March, which mirrored hundreds of demonstrations nationwide and across the globe, headlined by the massive rally in Washington, D.C.
Organizers said turnout in Santa Rosa, estimated at more than 5,000 people, was larger than expected. Attendees wearing rain jackets and toting umbrellas filled 1st Street and spilled onto Santa Rosa Avenue and D Street in the heart of the city.
“Look at this,” said organizer Anne McGivern. “People care. They wanted to be invited to show up and take action.”
The demonstration kicked off with a noon rally, followed by a march that traveled north up D Street, west on 4th Street, south on B Street and back to City Hall via 1st Street. The approximately one-hour march concluded by 2:30 p.m. and closed streets in the area were reopened not long afterward, police said.
Santa Rosa police said no disruptive incidents were reported and described the march as peaceful and well organized. Lt. John Snetsinger said the crowd was “easily more than 5,000” strong and could have numbered several thousand more. Snetsinger, who has worked at the police department more than 20 years, said it was “one of the largest free-speech events we’ve ever had in Santa Rosa.”
At the rally, Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, told a cheering crowd that the divisive rhetoric employed by Trump would not wholly redefine American identity.
“What Barack Obama said in his final days as our president is that being an American is not about where you’re from, or what you look like, what language you speak, how you worship, who you love. It’s not about any of those things. It’s about an ideal that we are all created equal, and that in this country, being an American means you can make of your life what you will,” Huffman said. “We’re going to define what it means to be an American. And we are going to get through these next four years together.”