Women’s March Los Angeles generated massive turnouts the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration and last year in the buildup to midterm elections that resulted in a record number of women winning public office around the nation.

The third Women’s March Los Angeles happens Saturday, but public enthusiasm has been dampened by concerns about anti-Semitism due to Washington D.C. Women’s March co-founder’s public support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — even though the Los Angeles march is not affiliated to the D.C. march, and the co-founders of the L.A. march are Jewish women.

The Argonaut’s Gary Walker, Bliss Bowen and Christina Campodonico asked several Westsiders who are active in progressive causes to share their thoughts about whether this year’s march is still relevant, and the following quotes highlight portions of those responses:

“I think the march is absolutely still relevant, and I am excited to participate this Saturday. We can easily share a post on social media about our views and what we support. However, it takes more work to attend a rally: we make signs, find transportation and carve out several hours to dedicate to march. That’s why I think it’s powerful. I know that the people standing next to me all took the extra effort to be there and express our support for women’s rights. It’s an energy that can’t be replicated in other mediums. … I believe in equal pay and equal access for women in the workplace. As someone who founded a company in a male-dominated industry, I’ve experienced prejudice and understand the extra obstacles women face to raise capital. I’m marching to show that we still have a lot of work to do to give women the same professional opportunities as men.”

— Nanxi Liu, tech industry entrepreneur, Mar Vista

“I won’t be able to attend this year, but if I were going it would be to stand in solidarity with others for what the Women’s March stands for. But personally, I have so many outlets for a lot of the issues that people are protesting about that I think are much more productive, such as engaging with policymakers and voter outreach efforts. I absolutely commend the organizers and all the people who plan to go to the march, but in my mind engaging in the type of work that I’m doing, like working to get candidates elected to public office, is much more tangible than just one day at a march. That has a much more lasting impact.”

— Duane Muller, president of the Westchester-Playa Democratic Club, Playa Vista

“Marching with women, men, children and young people who believe that we need to approach our society’s, our country’s and our planet’s problems from a different perspective is essential. Feminism can walk us toward a path of humanism, which in the end is what we need.”

— Claudia Vizcarra, education consultant, Culver City

 

“My purpose is to rebuild the feminine connection, and the primary way I do that right now is with Quilt. I host Quilt gatherings, I attend Quilt gatherings, I spend most of my time building the Quilt brand. The women’s march is a wonderful opportunity for a lot of women to connect to the mission and show their support. For me this isn’t a one day effort, it’s every day, all year round.”

— Gianna Wurzl, co-founder of women’s co-working space Quilt, Venice

“While I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend the march this year, I am very pleased that the L.A. march has unequivocally separated themselves from any association with the national march and its hypocritical leadership who continue to champion Louis Farrakhan, a virulent anti-Semite and homophobe. Ideals are only meaningful if they’re in line with behavior, and I applaud Women’s March Los Angeles for being consistent in word and action.”

— Sara Kay, yoga instructor and community organizer, Playa del Rey

“No matter how devious or divisive the attempts to undermine our common cause, when we, in the millions, lock arms with the comrade to the left and right of us, we are lifted by the knowledge that no amount of hate will ever conquer the spirit of a people united by truth, compassion and justice.”

— Lenore French, Mar Vista Art Walk organizer, Mar Vista

“Wouldn’t miss it, because solidarity with women is essential for the hopeful development of men. In the hopes of bringing justice to an all too unjust world, a little shoe leather is the least that can be expended. What about reaching total pay equity in this year? Or assuring choice in a misogynistic political period? The opportunities are many.”

— Robin Doyno, neighborhood council member, Mar Vista

“When Trump was elected and we had the first women’s march, we were angry. How was it that this unqualified person, who treated women with such disrespect, could be our president? I remember being so moved by the numbers of people who showed up. We got to the subway station and looked down inside at a sea of pink hats worn by women of all ages, women of color, little girls and their families. I burst into tears at the sight of it all. But I think the most moving thing about that day was seeing all of the men who were there, wearing T-shirts and carrying signs that said things like, ‘I’m with her, and her, and her, and her’ and ‘Whatever She Says.’ As a woman who grew up in Los Angeles and was subjected to some kind of sexual harassment from men daily, it felt so good! I felt so supported — so respected! … I hope we won’t have to keep marching for women’s rights forever, but I do think that this year may be even more important than last year. The current administration is not only under investigation for the obstruction of justice but continues to be turning back the hands of time, in terms of the progress we’ve made with regard to human rights, at an alarming rate.”

— Alison Freebairn-Smith, author of “How Trump Stole America,” Marina del Rey

“I go for several reasons. Participating in my democracy is important to me, and I know that to be heard I need to speak out and speak up for what I believe in by marching, voting and contacting my representatives. Second, because women are much underrepresented in our government. Third, because I want to give voice to my greatest concerns: equal rights for everyone, unobstructed voting, freedom from violence, universal healthcare and environmental justice. Fourth, because it is very inspirational to join with tens of thousands of likeminded and motivated people when so much of what has happened politically over these last two years has been disheartening and even tragic.

— Neysa Frechette, biologist, Playa del Rey

“The Women’s March started as a reaction to Donald Trump and it’s become an essential part of the resistance, in my mind. It brings people together — not just women — around common things about what we’re for and what we’re not.”

— Marc Saltzberg, neighborhood activist, Venice

“I hope to bring my sons with me. This is how you learn to stand up for what you believe. What’s happening at a federal level is unacceptable. Social and community action speaks volumes … It was a lack of political action that got us to this place, and it’s going to take an abundance of political action to get us out of it. There are a lot of reasons to protest and to let the world know that we are not all complicit in the horrors coming out of the White House.”

— Meghan Sahli-Wells, city council member, Culver City

“I am proud to join the ranks of an estimated quarter-million women who feel hopeful about real change for women and who are showing that positive messages are the strongest ones. We need to encourage people to vote and engage in their community. … This is an opportunity to help shape the vision of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements so women’s voices continue to be heard.”

— Sandie West, filmmaker and community organizer, Marina del Rey

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