Cheering, clapping and waving signs ranging from the profound to the profane, protesters from all over the Bay Area rallied in San Francisco for the fourth annual Women’s March Saturday.
“Today is about lifting each other up,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the city’s first female African American mayor, who swept onstage to roars of approval from the audience.
The marches began nationwide in January 2017, sparked by the election of President Donald Trump. About 100,000 people attended in San Francisco that year.
Subsequent years have seen smaller crowds locally and nationally. No crowd estimate was available at press time for this year’s event.
“Our reproductive health is under attack” by the current administration, as well as transgender rights and other civil liberties, Breed said.
The marches focus on a broad spectrum of issues including immigration, pay equity and racial equality. Like Breed, Eleni Kounalakis, California’ first woman lieutenant governor, got a rockstar reception from the crowd as she took the stage.
“I stood here in this plaza three years ago feeling broken and devastated,” said Kounalakis, who attended the 2017 San Francisco march. “But as I stood with the women and men who marched in 2017, my spirit was revived. Because of that march, I stood up and declared I was going to run for office,” winning the lieutenant governorship, she said.
The purpose of the marches is to rally women to political action. Speakers urged women to register and vote. Signups were available at the event.
“The centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote is coming up and we need representation,” said Crystal Martinez of San Rafael, whose bright pink sign read, “Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights.” Martinez chairs the Marin Women’s Commission.
“Everyone’s voices must be heard,” said Danielle Uribe, who journeyed to San Francisco from Selma, Calif., for the event.
“Truth Hurts,” a song by rapper Lizzo that has become something of a feminist anthem, blared from the speakers before the event, and audience members Lindsey Benson and Ashley Crump, both of San Francisco, rocked out to the music.
“It’s important to be here,” Benson said.
Women’s marches took place Saturday from San Jose to Pleasanton to Oakland to Walnut Creek and all over the Bay Area. Olive Lind, 10, of Berkeley, attended the Oakland event with her mom.
“It’s very important to attend these marches,” the 10-year-old said. “I want to be recognized as a woman and treated equally.”