A Gilroyan’s Take on the Women’s March

Women united

This past Saturday I had the privilege to march alongside 25,000 women and men in San Jose. Since then, people have asked—why did I go, what did I expect, what actually happened, and was it worthwhile?
I went because my belief in the value and inclusion of all people runs deep. I see the basic core values that this country was built upon being questioned and torn apart. I see that it has become the norm to sling insults and “alternative facts” to the point where people are becoming confused about what’s real or important. I hoped to be part of something bigger than me that would help to re-establish kindness and human decency toward one another.
I really didn’t know what to expect other than the few emails that the organizers had sent outlining the events of the day. The march began at City Hall and concluded at Ceasar Chavez Plaza where there were speakers, booths, food trucks, and of course, lots of bathrooms. Thank goodness this was well organized. We all followed the rainbow flag as a directional compass. It was tight fitting through the streets, but I never felt scared or worried. People were on ledges and balconies along the route with their signs of expression and support. They had the best view.
What struck me most was the overall positivity that permeated the crowd. I heard words of comfort all around me, laughed at hilarious signs, and connected with others on a very personal, emotional level. I marched with an old friend, met new friends, and extended hugs to others that I ran into from this area and people I just met. I was extremely appreciative of the number of men who marched, held signs, and showed that love and respect is (and must be) universal.
Make no mistake—this was very much an anti-Trump march as well. I think it’s fair to say that most everyone there disagrees with Trump’s policies, but mostly the discussions and chants were focused on his behavior and treatment of others. Because of his position, he will set new standards for our children. They learn from the role models in their lives, resulting in new acceptable norms. That’s why many folks exercised their fundamental rights as a U.S. citizen by showing up on Saturday in protest of his presidency.
One chant lead by a group of five young boys was: Tell me what democracy is? This is what democracy is. From the mouths of babes!
When I was young, my Mom took my sister and me to a Jane Fonda rally in protest of the troops in Vietnam. On Saturday, I marched in San Jose, my sister marched in Orlando, and my daughter in Santa Ana. We are a great example that values run deep from generation to generation. They get into your blood and govern your behavior. Therefore, we cannot and will not accept values that drive hurtful behavior or take away the rights of individuals, no matter who they are. The impact runs too deep for our families and future generations. There is simply too much at stake.
This leads me to what I believe to be the primary focus of the day: to promote individual rights, and fair and equal treatment of all people, regardless of any sort of difference we may have. As one human being to another, love is love is love is love, and all rights are human rights. Nothing is more important or critical to our health, safety, and well-being. Let’s stop all the foolishness and stop believing rhetoric that is not supported by facts.
All in all, it was overwhelming! I am renewed to believe that so many people in over 600 cities across this country and in countries all over the world feel strongly that love trumps hate. Thank you to all the people, old and young, all races, shapes, sizes, religions, preferences, genders—everyone who came out today. I felt the love, what this country could be and will be again!
Gilroy resident Karen Seeker owns Seeker Vineyard. Its logo is “more than good wine, the winery with heart.”