Congressman calls group ‘tough as nails’
Despite morning deluges and cold temperatures, roughly 5,000 people filled the streets near Santa Rosa ‘s city hall Saturday in support of the Women’s March on Washington.
The local, peaceful protest was coordinated by a grassroots effort of Standing Together for Women, composed of Anne Kain and Anne McGivern of Santa Rosa.
“This is for our community and it will be a peaceful march to show that we will not accept intolerance or injustice,” the event’s Facebook page read.
The event began at noon with an array of speakers, including former 6th District Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Santa Rosa city councilmember Julie Combs, Ann Gray Byrd, president of the Santa Rosa/Sonoma County NAACP, Alicia Sanchez, longtime Latina activist, lawyer, labor organizer and board president of KBBF, Annie Dobbs-Kramer, a community activist with the North Bay Organizing Project, Enrique Yarce, a sociology student at Santa Rosa Junior College and current 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman.
Huffman opted to forgo attendance at President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20; instead the congressman spent time in Sonoma County, first during a clean up of the Russian River area on Friday afternoon, followed by participation in Saturday’s march.
“This has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen,” Huffman told the crowd of marchers Saturday. “What I see today should be the final word and that word is this: We’re not going to let Donald Trump or his supreme court nominees or the Republican congress take us back to 1950 or 1850 or wherever they want to take us back. And we’re sure not going to let them define what it is to be an American.”
“This is multi-ethnic, multi-generational, peaceful, positive, principled and tough as nails and ready for action. I take my hat off to you, my pussy cat hat right here,” Huffman said.
The march ventured through downtown Santa Rosa, led by Graton’s Hubbub Club.
Marchers waived signs, sang songs, yelled chants and hollered in solidarity with passersby, who also cheered in support.
“I think it was really important for us to show up and speak out and stand for our values,” said Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. Hopkins attended the march with her husband and two daughters.
Hopkins said she joined the march out of her concern about setting back the clock on human rights.
“It is important to come together and believe in women’s rights, LGBQTI rights…to respect all forms of religion,” Hopkins said.
While her two girls fell asleep during the march, she said the event provided a good opportunity to teach them about standing together and loving all people.
“It was a good exercise to break down the event into language that a 2- and 4-year-old can understand,” Hopkins said, adding that her oldest wanted to make ‘girl power’ signs when they returned home.
Hopkins urges her constituents to keep pushing forward.
“Don’t just stop at the women’s march. Don't consider this as ‘one and done,’” Hopkins said. “This is just the start of a bigger, more sustained movement. Show up at city council meetings, county meetings. Be engaged.”