Marchers made their way down El Dorado Street in downtown Stockton on Saturday, brandishing signs and chanting in unison to mark the city’s first Women’s March.
The marchers traveled four blocks from Eden Park to Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza calling for democracy and unity. As a sea of pink filled the fields of the plaza, members of the community gave speeches and recited poetry.
The gathered crowd erupted in cheers as poet and organizer Jazmarie LaTour encouraged them to not be accepting of attitudes of intolerance and to pursue equality together.
“Around 5 million people in the U.S. right now are marching in resistance of the Trump administration, in unity with each other, and our shared value for human rights,” LaTour said. “Our parents and grandparents did not fight for us to surrender quietly.”
LaTour then told the crowd that regardless of faith, gender, status, color, or sexual orientation that they were all part of the same fight.
“Our march today was in recognition that we are in this together,” she said.
For mother and Lodi native Laurie Baker Kraljev, who marched with her daughter Katie and her son Peter, LaTour’s speech struck a chord for her because her purpose for marching was in recognizing equality for all people, and also in protest of the limitations placed on young women, which she believes forces them to feel guilty for achieving what they want.
“I believe that young women should be who they want to be, and I believe in equality for all,” Kraljev said.
The signs that many activists in the crowd carried relayed messages of empowerment and inclusivity for women and immigrants, which Lodi native Wajiha Tahir believes has been a shortcoming of the feminist movement.
“I am here to represent the women that have been silenced throughout history,” Tahir said.
Tahir, who is a practicing Muslim and of Pakistani descent, stated that the feminist movement has failed to recognize the internal marginalization that has left women of color feeling alienated. Tahir felt encouraged to attend the march and increase the visibility of Muslim women.
“I am here because of the strong women around me, like my mother and grandmother,” Tahir said.
Tahir, a student at the University of the Pacific, said she viewed the march as an opportunity for growth, noting that she plans to get involved in the Pacific Society of Women in Business program, which she hopes will help lay the foundation for women in the workforce.