On Friday and Saturday, thousands of people across the North Bay are expected to take part in demonstrations being organized in conjunction with the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, most of which are planned to stand against the platform he is expected to bring to the White House.
The organization’s website says more than 1.3 million people have signed up to take part, marching on every continent except Antarctica.
At least five marches are planned for the North Bay: in Napa, Fort Bragg, Sonoma, Ukiah and Santa Rosa.
Anne McGivern, one of the original organizers of the Santa Rosa march, made it clear the march is “not a protest,” but rather “a very pro-social-justice rally.”
“Cleary we’re liberal and we’re social justice advocates, but this is not a protest,” she said. “It’s a very strong message that says we must come together, to stand together, with loud voices and protect our rights.”
The march will begin at City Hall, then head through downtown before winding up back at City Hall. The majority of Saturday’s .7-mile route will be on sidewalks, but 1st Street between Santa Rosa Avenue and D Street will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., with people beginning to gather at 11 a.m., speakers at noon and the march to follow.
Among the speakers lined up for Saturday’s event is Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who announced earlier this month on social media that he planned to skip the inauguration.
When he found out about the Santa Rosa march, he decided he’d do that instead.
“I feel like it’s very important, what they’re doing all over the country to rally in support for women and women’s rights, and I wanted to be part of it,” he said. “We’ve just made an awful lot of progress on women’s reproductive rights, on equal pay, on any number of other issues, and now all of it is in jeopardy either directly from the things the new Congress or the Trump administration want to do, or indirectly through a new Supreme Court with a conservative majority.”
Other speakers planned for the Santa Rosa march include Lynn Woolsey, former congresswoman; Julie Combs, Santa Rosa City Council member; and Ann Gray Byrd, president of the Santa Rosa-Sonoma County NAACP.
As for Huffman’s speech, he plans to keep things positive.
“Sitting around and complaining about what an awful person Donald Trump is doesn’t change anything,” he said. “I’m going to underscore the importance of maintaining hope and optimism and engaging in positive action, doing things.
“That’s why I think this march and marches like it all over the country are just terrific. It’s not people sitting around and grumbling about Donald Trump. They’re raising their voices and joining together to amplify those voices. It’s that kind of positive engagement that will get us through the next four years.”