On Saturday, Jan. 19, the Third Annual Women’s March San Luis Obispo was host to 5,000 supporters who took to the streets to peacefully advocate for “women’s rights, human rights, our safety, our health, and our planet.” The first Women’s March took place 24 hours after President Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 21, 2017, becoming the “largest single day demonstration” the United States has ever seen.
Anyone watching the participants march on Saturday could feel the unmistakable energy of a group of people united by the desire to create change. As a photographer, I had the unique opportunity to experience the march as both a participant and an observer. I could feel the enthusiasm and empowering energy of the environment while occasionally slipping back into an observer’s role, witnessing the truths of the people who marched. Though the participants in the massive crowd marched in solidarity with one another, each person had a unique motivation for marching, from universal health care to environmental justice to the government shutdown. This was as uplifting and inspiring as it was serious and eye-opening. This year, the march stressed diversity, with speakers like Dr. Leola Dublin Macmillan and Rita Casaverde sharing stories of what they have endured since the 2016 elections, but also the amazing community they have come to find. I aimed to capture this diversity and was humbled by the experience.
The march was scattered with various chants, but one in particular has endured since the first march two years ago. “Show us what democracy looks like!”
“This is what democracy looks like.”
And year after year, the SLO community continues to come together to prove it.