More than 400 people gathered at Amador Valley High School on Jan 18 for a rally before marching down Main Street in Pleasanton supporting women’s rights. The second Tri-Valley Women’s March was held not only to remind and encourage women to vote, volunteer, and run for elected offices, but also to focus on removing from office those individuals who have obstructed women’s rights.
In addition, the rally and march celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. It recognized that it’s been 55 years since the Voting Rights Act passed, prohibiting voting discrimination on the basis of race, color or speaking a language other than English.
There’s a very long history of women fighting for their rights, said event emcee Brittni Kiick, from Livermore Pride. “The ideals of this movement are rooted in the ideals of inclusion and equity within our own feminist movement. This march is open to all regardless of identity, because working together is the only way we will reach the interconnected liberation we all seek.”
Kelty Kauffman, of Alameda County Planned Parenthood, said women must defend their rights against formidable political opposition.
“We cannot pretend we do not hear the message the Trump administration and their allies have been sending us by working to defund planned parenthood, end the affordable care act, silence medical professionals trying to advocate for their patients’ rights and bring a clear challenge to Roe Vs Wade,” she said. “The message is that our bodies do not belong to us; they belong to the State.”
Hayward City Councilwoman Aisha Wahab, the first Afghan-American to serve in public office in America, said rhetoric in the country has people living in fear.
“Everyone in this country is supposed to have the freedom to live as they please, to be secure in their own skin, to be who they are, who they want to be, and live the life they want to lead. That is what makes America great,” Wahab said. “That is not the image and rhetoric going on now in the government… People that look different and sound different are living in fear right now. They are scared of speaking up and giving the required information to be counted. Please help any way you can with the census. People have died for this right.”
District 16 state assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan asked the audience to “think about how you all felt on Nov. 9, 2016. That is the fire in our bellies… We must fight for the values that each of us holds, which is the woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy and the equality that comes with that. Let’s lead the way by voting and thereby changing the conversation.”
The first Tri-Valley Women’s March was held on Jan. 19, 2019. The original march on Jan 21, 2017 showcased a worldwide protest the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump due to his documented anti-women statements and other behaviors toward women. This was the largest single day protest in U.S. history bringing over 470,000 people to Washington, D.C. and over 5 million participants throughout the U.S. At the Nov. 2018 election, 53% of women voting cast their ballot for Trump.
The Tri-Valley Women’s march is independent from other women’s marches and was organized by Tri-Valley Woman’s Action Group, Livermore Indivisible, Students for Social Change and Organizing for Action (OFA) East Bay Central