Women's march in Phoenix draws thousands

A diverse crowd marched to the capitol building in Phoenix Saturday as hundreds of similar marches took place worldwide

Thousands of Arizonans gathered outside the state capitol building the Saturday to raise awareness for women's rights, mirroring marches across the country.

Women, men, members of LGBT community, religious groups and others marched together in solidarity for women's issues. Many of the marchers carried signs advocating for access to abortions, funding for Planned Parenthood, equal pay for women and other issues concerning women. Others carried signs scolding President Donald Trump and proclaimed themselves "nasty women" next to their male allies.

The Women’s March on Phoenix was one of the 11 sister marches occurring in Arizona and one of the more than 600 marches occurring in all 50 states and 32 countries worldwide. Saturday's march in Phoenix included over 20,000 participants, according to local law enforcement.

Eva Burch, a Planned Parenthood organizer, said she's excited that Arizonans are becoming involved. 

“It isn’t because of our organizational excellence, it is because people in Arizona decided to show up today. Yes this is a protest, but today is about moving forward and people are sick of the negativity and anger and they are ready to do something which is what today is about," Burch said. 

Women's March on Phoenix brings thousands to the streets from The State Press on Vimeo.

Video by Jordan Evans.

Kristy King, an ASU professor who teaches a class in contemporary feminism at Barrett, The Honors College, was also at Saturday's march. 

"If it's not intersectional, it's not feminist, and that is the guide that envisioned for all of us and that is really what we tried to achieve with our speakers," King said.

Numerous politicians also attended the event, some delivering fiery speeches about feminism. State Representative Athena Salman (D-Tempe) spoke to the crowd, reminding them that Arizona was one of the states thatfailed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982. The ERA was a proposed amendment to the Constitution that only received support from 32 of the necessary 35 states. 

The Brown Berets of Arizona, a historical grassroots organization with roots in the Chicano movement of the late 1960s, made their first appearance in Arizona since the early 2000s. 

Felina Rodriguez, a junior political science major at ASU and a new member to the Brown Berets of Arizona, said that the organization was at the march to stand in support of the struggles that exist for women of color.

"We are a group of strong Chicano women and men who are ready to stand between those protesting the injustices of this country and the neo-nazis or any other hostile groups," Rodriguez. "Because we are women of color, we face a war on two fronts. Our Raza is constantly the source of discrimination and racism. Our gender is the source of sexism and machismo."

But Rodriguez also had a critique for the Phoenix march. 

"It wasn't as inclusive as it could have been," Rodriguez said. 

She said the organization of the march failed to address black, Native American and Latina women, among others.

"We must remember that this is not just about equal pay and a woman's right to her body," Rodriguez said. "Our race and gender play important roles in our ability to overcome obstacles here in the United States and the rest of the world."

Reach the reporter at rdomin10@asu.edu and follow @beccanators on Twitter.

Reach the videographer at jevans29@asu.edu or follow  @jordan_evans_16 on Twitter.

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