Locals carry messages of outrage and hope to the women’s march on the capitol

By Joe Piasecki

From growing up in conservative rural Pennsylvania to traveling the world as a technology specialist for the U.S. State Department, starting a family in Mar Vista and operating a Playa Vista franchise of the Stroller Strides fitness program for new moms, Jennifer Bauer has encountered a pretty wide spectrum of the human experience.

But she never expected to see Donald Trump become president.

“I’ll be the first to say I voted for Bernie in the primaries, but I got behind Hillary because it was important. After the election, I couldn’t believe it — it felt like there was so much movement backwards,” says Bauer, who will be among the hundreds of thousands expected to participated in Saturday’s post-inauguration Women’s March on Washington.

Chief among her concerns are Trump’s troubling history with women and the example it sets for her two young boys.

“I know a lot of conservatives wanted change, and I’m OK with that — I have some conservative ideals of my own. But it’s not OK to be a sexual predator and be president. It’s not OK to publicly defile women over and over again and be president,” says Bauer.

“I want to stand up for what I believe, but I feel additional pressure because I am a mother of two young boys [ages 2 and 5],” she continues. “They’ll probably never know what it feels like to be discriminated against, because they are white boys in America, but I need to make sure they learn to treat others with kindness and respect. That’s what this march means to me. Leading with kindness seems to have taken a backseat.”

Venice resident Robin Lithgow, a retired LAUSD teacher and administrator, is also traveling to Washington to participate in the march, which has inspired dozens of sister events around the country.

She hopes for both catharsis and empowerment.

“I was devastated by Hillary Clinton’s loss. I wanted to see a great, strong, qualified woman candidate, and in the beginning I thought it would be very healing to go. After I talked to some other people, I thought that by going it would make a clear statement about the importance of women’s rights,” Lithgow says. “I’m horrified by just about everything that comes out of [Trump’s] mouth and I want people to see that there is a strong resistance to his agenda, especially on education and the environment.”

Also attending the rally in Washington is former Venice Neighborhood Council president Linda Lucks, a longtime progressive activist who is concerned the new president and his administration will dismantle the Affordable Care Act and erode the rights of women and minorities. She plans to march with extended family members as well as Lithgow and a handful of other women from Venice and Mar Vista.

Lucks marched to end the Vietnam War and participated in the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, events she describes as not only effective, but also restorative.

“I know what a positive experience it can be to out and express yourself in that way. We can all write letters and sign petitions, but it’s not the same as actually showing up and being there. And it gives us strength to be together. When you walk with others, it’s empowering,” she says.

“We are not going to be victims as a result of this election, and we are not going to be quiet about it.”

For Bauer, the Women’s March on Washington is a chance to put the election behind her and participate in a new political dialogue only beginning to take shape.

“This march is about moving forward, not being mad about what’s already happened. We get he’s the president. That doesn’t mean we now say ‘Do your worst.’ It’s about what we can do to make sure our values are still considered. Everybody has that right,” she says.