Students march to safeguard women’s rights

Over 750,000 people flooded the streets of L.A. Saturday morning, making their way from Pershing Square to City Hall and back again, chanting, “Our body our choice,” “Love trumps hate” and “This is what democracy looks like.” The march, which took place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., was one of many women’s march protests organized around the world in solidarity with the one taking place in Washington, D.C.

The website for the march stated the goal of standing “together in solidarity … for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The event, which began as a grassroots movement and eventually grew to a massive scale, was bolstered by the appearance of high-profile attendees. Politicians, such as Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congresswoman Judy Chu, and performers, such as Barbra Streisand, Miley Cyrus and Natalie Portman, spoke about the importance of remaining aware of and involved with the political process.

“Today we speak out,” Garcetti said. “But tomorrow, we act out.”

Trains and buses to the event were filled as people crowded together on their way to the march, and many were unable to take public transportation as planned. Uber pricing surged to accommodate the demand.

“We couldn’t get the Metro there because we kept waiting for trains to come by, and every single one was packed to the doors,” said Annamaria Sauer, a freshman majoring in English. “The station was just filled with people from the march and as we were all waiting there everyone was still chanting.”

The crowd sported pink cat ear hats and bore aloft posters and banners painted with slogans. Protesters had been preparing for days in anticipation of the march.

“I made a sign ‘Men can be feminists too’ for two hours,” said Joseph Harlan, a junior majoring in theater. “Then I spent the whole of Friday watching political comedy videos and getting worked up watching the inauguration.”

Despite its moniker, the march welcomed anyone willing to participate was welcome to participate in the march. The crowd’s demographic was greatly varied; protesters ranged in age, ethnicity and gender. Representation was especially high from college students all over California, including USC.

“I attended because the issues that we marched for — healthcare, respect, equality — are things that affect me and the women in my life daily, and I don’t want to stand by and watch my country lose progress,” said Kimberly Rogers, a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. “It was a unifying march, and the number of people who turned out sends a message.”

After experiencing the feeling of empowerment and solidarity from standing up for their beliefs, participants discovered within themselves a newfound passion for activism.

“I want to go to all the future rallies,” Harlan said. “There’s one for Medicare and Medicaid. I want to go to Earth Day and other environmental rallies. Anything and everything. This march lit a fire in me.”