By Brittanie Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
I have always been passionate about women’s rights; I’ve always wanted to let people know that my rights were not for negotiation.
I never imagined marching next to others with the same emotions, fears and hopes.
So when Women’s March Los Angeles was formulating, I knew I wanted to take part of it.
Being a woman devastated and afraid of the future of my rights, I deemed it vital that I went to this march; it was not an option—I had to go.
The morning of the march, I knew nothing but good things were going to happen.
After the first stop on the Metrolink, I knew this movement was going to be big; the train had reached maximum capacity with excited activists filling every seat and standing area.
Once we were in Los Angeles, adrenaline kicked in. Masses of protesters walked to Pershing Square, where the march was said to begin, but that soon changed when more and more people began show up.
I thought that the street I was on was the only street being utilized for the march, but I was so wrong.
Due to the massive crowd of supporters, the streets of LA surrounding City Hall and Pershing Square were shut down; entire streets and sidewalks were filled with people marching in solidarity.
People shouted: “My body, my choice.”
As well as, “No justice, no peace.”
“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” too.
Signs of all kinds were held up with pride.
One sign read, “women belong in the resistance,” with a picture of Princess Leia (played by Carrie Fisher) behind the words.
Pictures featuring women of different ethnicities were displayed, which was served as an example of how diverse the United States is.
Signs that supported immigration, the LGBTQ community and Planned Parenthood floated throughout the crowd.
“I was feeling disheartened that we were fighting the same battle 50 years later but hopeful because of the incredible diversity standing in solidarity,” said attendee Rose Gutierrez.
Having our voices heard and progression were our goals; not retreating back to when human rights were limited to a select few. It was, is and will continue to be a battle.
This is what made this march so special. At its core, it was a feminist movement and human rights were being protested for.
Women, men, children, grandparents, wives, husbands—everyone had a reason to march, whether it was for Planned Parenthood, women’s right or immigration.
It was peaceful and gave me hope I thought I would never have.
The energy radiating from person to person just inspired me that much more.
I felt empowered as a women and as a human to fight for myself and everyone around me.
I was doing this for my family, for the women in my life who taught me to be strong.
I marched for my people who came and formed a life better than they ever imagined.
I marched because keeping my voice silent would be a mistake I would regret.
“During the march I was lucky enough to find myself next to a pro-immigration group that was chanting in Spanish and I honestly felt this sense of unity that I’ve never felt before in my life. I felt blessed,” said protester Rebeca Loera.
As I sat on the train back home and though back at the last couple of hours, a sudden rush of emotions overcame my entire being and I began to cry.
The march fueled the flame in me to fight harder for my rights, my mother’s rights, for my sister, aunts, nieces and nephews.
I marched for the rights of my friends, for women not only in the United States but around the world.
It made me realize that even with all the negativity around us every day, hope was a force that united everyone, determination for change and progression.
My rights are not for the taking—my rights are my own. Women’s rights are in fact human rights.
As I sit and think about what I took part in, my grandfather’s words keep running through my mind:
“With will and determination, you can accomplish anything.”