Two years into Trump's presidency, the third annual L.A. Women's March: Truth to Power might be its most hopeful gathering yet. Providing a model for mobilization, advocacy and resistance in the wake of the 45th POTUS' shocking win, the march started a movement that has resulted in more gender and racial diversity in the House of Representatives and a focus on accountability, unity and solidarity for protecting the rights of women and other marginalized groups in the United States.
The two prior L.A. Women's Marches saw a stunning number of participants — about 700,000 each year — taking to the streets with colorful, clever and comical signs calling out everything from the president's discriminatory policies to his questionable Russian relations to his dishonesty and shady business practices to his predatory “pussy-grabbing” ways.
The first march took place all across the U.S. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, with Washington, D.C.'s garnering the most attention from national news media. But the one in Los Angeles had just as many big-name stars. Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Natalie Portman, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Laverne Cox, Lily Tomlin and many more spoke of the need to protect women’s rights in the wake of Trump’s win, with others expressing themselves musically including Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Jackson Browne, Jenifer Lewis and Brandy. An all-star band featuring Juliette Lewis on vocals, U2’s the Edge on guitar, Abby Travis of The Go-Go’s on bass and Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk on drums played “Pride (In the Name of Love),” all on a giant stage erected on busy Broadway, which was closed off.
Last year, a stage was erected in front of City Hall with celebrity speakers and live musical performances filling the day and marking one year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Scarlett Johansson, Alfre Woodard, Olivia Munn, Allison Janney, Eva Longoria, Marisa Tomei, Nicole Richie and Viola Davis all took turns rallying attendees with personal stories and calls to action. The Jan. 20, 2018, event once again brought out hundreds of thousands of protesters, with a focus on voter mobilization, which obviously worked.
This year the streets of downtown Los Angeles surely will be filled with more chanting, ranting and bonding, and not just by women. Male allies, gender-nonconforming activists and families fill the streets as well. We're also sure to see the return of the controversial pink pussy knit caps and tees and signs expressing frustration with the unpopular (at least in L.A.) prez’s policies, combined with statements against harassment and abuse of women post-Kavanaugh hearings and anger in the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp.
Though controversy concerning leaders of the national Women's March Inc. allegedly making anti-Semitic statements has dampened some enthusiasm for the gathering, individual city marches have been distancing themselves from that group, forging ahead and establishing their identity separate from the national group. The Women's March L.A. Foundation has posted about this separation and distinction on its Facebook page.
This year's gathering in downtown will once again start at Pershing Square and end at the front steps of City Hall on Spring Street, gathering most attendees at Grand Park where vendors and informational booths will provide merchandise and literature about important causes and voter registration. After the speakers and entertainment (which are not announced beforehand), many local business hold gatherings or throw parties in the area as people disperse.
March starts at 532 S. Olive St., downtown; Sat., Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; free. womensmarchla.org.