Clad in jackets and beanies with posters in hand, over a thousand peaceful protesters met at Plaza Park on Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. for the Justice for All March.
Clad in jackets and beanies with posters in hand, over a thousand peaceful protesters met at Plaza Park on Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. for the Justice for All March. This march was planned over the course of seven weeks by over 75 volunteers at five different meetings, and advertised through posters and a Facebook page.
Taking place the morning after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, people chanted various cheers such as “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” and “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here!”
The day started with speeches from City Council member Matt LaVere and Planned Parenthood’s Central Coast CEO, Jenna Tosh.
While carrying his daughter, LaVere announced to the crowd that “seeing the example we set for the next generation is inspiring.”
Tosh directed her speech towards President Trump: “Don’t listen to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has voted repeatedly to block a woman’s access to health care, listen to the one in five American women [who have] relied on Planned Parenthood, listen to the one in three American women [who have] had an abortion, because we are watching and we will fight for our rights.”
The march’s organizers made it clear that this was meant to be a peaceful protest. Before marching, volunteer Chris Young announced, “We will use no violence—physical or verbal—to anyone! […] We will hold each other accountable for accepting these agreements.”
Ventura High School student Beatrice Bellisime ‘18 and Foothill students Lane Domke ‘18 and Noel Domke ‘18 wanted to “protest in the most peaceful way [because] a lot of republicans are mad about the violent protests.”
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Lane Domke hopes that the march will help people “be less scared for the future of America, because I know a lot of people are scared that they’re getting their rights taken away” and that “people can get together and have hope and love.”
Noel Domke wants to show the country that “there’s power in numbers, and if they try to take any rights away from us, we’ll fight back. We’re not just going to stand idly by and watch it.”
As the march paraded through downtown Ventura, many cars driving by honked and held two fingers out their windows to show appreciation and support for the protest.
Young said the event was about “everybody that deserves justice and that needs a hand and support, and needs us to have their backs.”
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Although Young said he “was slow to wake up to social activism,” he now knows he cannot have peace and justice for himself and his family “unless [the entire country] has it,” which led Young to get involved in the non-profit organization Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions.
A multitude of different speakers concluded the march, talking about issues from immigration to LGBTQ rights to racial injustice in the United States. This was followed by a drum circle which performed songs to honor Native American ancestors and Mother Earth.
Perry Martin Jr., a disabled combat veteran, gave a motivational speech about what to do in light of the recent election.
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After sharing his experiences with discrimination throughout his life, Martin said “So forgive me, if I am cynical toward a Commander In-Chief that mocks, degrades, attacks, misleads, gropes, swindles, lies, is disloyal, arrogant, egotistical, and, at times, an utterly despicable bully.”
Martin concluded by saying, “Never give up. Never give up hope. Never lose faith. You will grow weary, but stay strong. Go back and fight for what’s right.”