Monday’s inaugural Westchester / LAX Coastal Kids’ March for Equality is a nonpartisan, mom-approved opportunity for civic engagement
By Joe Piasecki
Regardless of their parents’ ideological leanings, kids growing up during the Trump administration are the first in many years to regularly encounter images of political protest in the media — and for many young people in Los Angeles, now also at school.
Hoping to foster community connectedness and give students in elementary and middle schools a chance to join the public discourse, Westchester and Playa del Rey moms have organized a kid-friendly march on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The inaugural Westchester / LAX Coastal Kids’ March for Equality steps off at 10 a.m. from the northwest corner of Sepulveda Boulevard at La Tijera Boulevard (behind Kohl’s), continuing for an hour along the sidewalk to Manchester Avenue and back. The intent, organizers say, is to keep the event’s footprint small and manageable but also very visible.
Also unlike larger and more unwieldly protests, organizers of Monday’s march are encouraging affirmational, non-partisan messaging — and explicitly discouraging chants and signs that are oppositional or partisan in nature.
“We’d like people to bring kid-friendly messages that are promoting positive ideas about equality,” says main organizer Haan-Fawn Chau, an urban planner whose kids attend WISH Community School in Westchester. “This is not about political partisanship. We are discouraging people coming with anything that would be considered an ‘anti’ message, a negative message.”
Sylvia Wilson, an attorney and mother of 7-year-old twins who attend Citizens of the World Charter School in Mar Vista, is one of seven other women helping Chau organize the march. She says children tend to be more aware of current events than they get credit for but lack opportunities for public engagement outside school.
“Kids are feeling it. My kids ask me all the time what’s going on with the government — people trying to come to this country, people who don’t seem to have the same rights as others,” she says. “Kids can’t vote, and they’re limited in the ways they can be heard. A lot of kids don’t’ feel like they have the power to change anything, so this march will give them a voice.”
Both Chau and co-organizer Ahmanise Sanata Morgan say the Westchester march is largely inspired by their past participation in the Children’s March for Equality at UCLA, which also eschewed partisanship while emphasizing equality as a universal American value.
“We thought Martin Luther King Day would be a great time to give kids a chance to voice support for things like treating people with kindness and respect. I also think it helps reinforce to children and parents alike that we should build a community that feels united around core values of inclusiveness and equality,” says Chau.
“This is an opportunity for kids to practice being active citizens,” says Sanata Morgan, a resident of Playa del Rey. “I want my daughter to know her voice matters, and that it’s important for her to stand up for what she believes in.”
Her 6-year old daughter has already decorated a sign. It reads: “All Colors Are Beautiful.”
For more information, follow the Westchester / LAX Coastal Kids’ March for Equality event page on Facebook or email LAXmoms4equality@gmail.com.