As thousands of protesters prepare to descend on the nation’s capital Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington, some residents of the central San Joaquin Valley are preparing to join in sister marches across California.
The hundreds of marches throughout the world will come the day after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Karen English of Madera plans to march with her sister and nieces in Sacramento. For her, the march is not just about women’s rights.
“I have to march to show Trump there are many who oppose his hateful extremism and the power billionaires have over the rest of us,” English said.
English said equal pay and a woman’s right to health care are important, but she’s also marching to oppose Trump’s treatment of minorities and the “ugly” things he says. She marched several times in the ’80s and is coming out of her protest “retirement” for Saturday’s event.
“The future isn’t mine,” English said, who is 71. “I am in my future. But I have loved ones. I am going because I have to go.”
English said she was not concerned for her safety at the march, but rather she fears Trump’s supporters who excuse this words and behavior “because they think somehow the economy will be better.”
Coarsegold resident Jocelyn Dugan is taking her two children, ages 7 and 10, to Sacramento to march with her sister and some friends.
“I reject our minority president-elect,” Dugan said. “I will stand with my friends to support women, Muslims, African Americans, the LGBT community and people with disabilities. I will stand to show that we all are coming together in solidarity and with love to bolster each other, keep each other safe and inspire hope.”
Dugan said she also wants to show her children the importance of sticking to personal convictions and that people can make a small change by petitioning their elected officials.
According to its website, the Women’s March on Washington will “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.” It also says that minorities, people of color, those with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community were “insulted, demonized and threatened” in the last election cycle. Hundreds of buses are expected to transport protesters from throughout the country to join in the main march on Washington, D.C., which will end at the U.S. Capitol.
A few sister marches have sprung up in the Valley.
According to the women’s march website, there are three events scheduled in the central San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Oakhurst and Visalia. In all, more than 600 marches are planned around the world as of Wednesday morning. The website estimates more than 1.3 million people will participate.
The Fresno march’s Facebook page showed 169 people planning to attend and 551 interested as of noon Wednesday. This event coincides with a similar protest planned by Peace Fresno at the same time and place. As more than 100 protesters could crowd a busy intersection, the Fresno Police Department will monitor the protests. Those traveling in the River Park area Saturday afternoon could be delayed.
Oakhurst’s march had 29 people planning to attend and 61 interested. Snow could hit the area midday Saturday, forecasts show.
The estimated turnout for the Visalia march is unknown.
Valley women’s march information for Saturday
Fresno: 2-4 p.m. at the southwest corner of the intersection of Blackstone and Nees avenues
Oakhurst: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oakhurst Community Park, 49074 Civic Circle
Visalia: 10 a.m. to noon at Blain Park, 3101 S. Court St.