Thousands of people in Santa Ana joined more than a million worldwide Saturday for the Women’s March to protest the administration of Donald J. Trump and call for equal treatment of women, minorities and immigrants.
The diverse group of marchers — numbering at least 10,000 — started at the intersection of Fourth and French streets around 9:30 a.m. and took a route down Santa Ana Boulevard to Ross Street and then down Third Street to the Yost Theater in the heart of downtown.
Chants of “A people united will never be divided” and “Yes we can” filled the cool morning air, and many of the women wore pink knitted hats — called “pussyhats” — and held signs with sayings like: “Keep your tiny hands off my rights,” “immigrants welcome, fascists not,” and “IKEA has more qualified cabinets.”
Marcher Doshanna Bell said that it was time for women to lead. “The men no longer know how to do it and we queens need to rise up.”
Judy Veiga, a special needs instructor in Tustin, said she was marching for her students to show the Trump administration that there are voices who will stand up and fight for the rights of those who can’t do so themselves.
The last of the marchers finished the route around 11:15 a.m., and Santa Ana Police Commander Ruben Ibarra said the protest was peaceful and no arrests had been made as of 3 p.m.
Santa Ana’s March was one of many held across the nation and the world in what marked the largest mass protest of a U.S. president’s inauguration in history.
The Washington Post reported that the main march, the Women’s March on Washington, drew at least 500,000 people. As many as 750,000 marched in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Other marches were held in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and places as far flung as Paris and Melbourne, Australia.
Joining the marchers in Santa Ana were organizations including: Planned Parenthood of Orange County and San Bernardino, Greenpeace and Pantsuit Nation. Labor unions also turned out, as did LGBTQ organizations and immigrant rights groups.
And there were plenty of men on hand as well.
Tom Turnley, a gay man from the Midwest, said he was out there to help prevent the civil rights clock from being turned back. He said he grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and understands the plight of marginalized groups.
“I know what it feels like to be the ‘other,’” Turnley said. “I fear we’re slipping back into a time of fear and repression.” He made it clear he was there to support women first, because they “were the most marginalized group.”
Umer Tawfic, a West African immigrant from Ghana, said he was also marching to prevent America from going backwards.
“You really have to respect the voice of the people,” Tawfic said, aiming his comment at Trump’s administration. “It would be disastrous if America were to fall back … America is like a role model to everybody (around the world).”
Jacqueline Bustamante said complacency is to blame for Trump’s election.
“For so many years we stayed quiet because we were comfortable, then we got slapped,” Bustamante said, adding that she didn’t realize how prevalent racism was in other parts of the country. “I think we’re going to get stronger.”
Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected].