By Ben Purper, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The day after President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration saw unprecedented marches all around the country, and the Inland Empire was no exception. Over 4,000 people participated in the Women’s March on Saturday, Jan. 22, which culminated in a rally at Riverside City Hall.
As the Press Enterprise reports, “The concerns raised were just as diverse as the crowd: from health care and abortion rights to the environment and treatments of immigrants.” Children and adults alike carried colorful, homemade signs with slogans such as “Men of Quality Do Not Fear Equality” and “Don’t Take Away My Care.”
The march started in Riverside’s Main Street mall and moved through Mission Inn Ave., Lemon Street, and University Avenue before ending at City Hall. The crowd was comprised of people differing in age, gender, ethnicity, and physical ability. The event was peaceful and generally family friendly, as many demonstrators brought their families and even dogs along with them.
The event was organized by Rise Up California, a progressive community activist group who arranged the march and held the rally at City Hall. Before the march began, a Rise Up representative with a megaphone laid down some ground rules: the march would be safe and peaceful, and all marchers should follow police officers’ directions.
The rally featured several speakers who addressed the issues facing LGBTQ women, women of color, undocumented immigrants, and more. One of the speakers even proposed to her girlfriend, whose “yes” was met with applause and cheers.
Rabbi Hillel Cohn, one of the Inland Empire’s most influential religious figures, attended Saturday’s march. A San Bernardino native, Rabbi Cohn was head of Congregation Emanu El from 1963 to 2001. When asked how he felt about Friday’s inauguration, he said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do, that’s all I know.”
“But this is very encouraging, I’ll tell you, to see the number of people here. And look at the mixture of ages. We’re not just talking about young millennials; we’re talking about everybody.”
John Walsh, the University of Redlands Chaplain, also attended the event. He was encouraged by the turnout, calling it “empowering” and saying, “this is just the regional demonstration!”
Walsh also pointed out that there was no such grassroots mobilization after the inaugurations of Presidents Bush or Obama, which may spell trouble for President Trump. In his words: “The man whose name I shall not speak may be facing more than he realizes.”