Women’s Marches promoting human rights and social justice were held all over the world following the inauguration of President Donald Trump last year. In Napa, thousands took to First and Third streets, flooding Veterans Memorial Park with protest signs and songs. It was called one of the largest demonstrations in Napa history.
And it’s happening again on Saturday.
But this time it’s going to be even “bigger,” says organizer Irit Weir. With offensive sentiments coming out of the White House daily, Weir said, many Napa Valley residents are feeling frustrated and hurt.
“This is a very important time in our history as women to unite, hold hands, (and) be fearless,” Weir said.
Women’s March Napa Valley is part of a national movement seeking to unify and empower individuals standing for women’s rights, civil liberties, social justice and human rights. Anniversary marches have been planned across the country, including the main national march “Power to the Polls” in Las Vegas on Sunday.
“We believe that together we can create transformative social change,” Weir said. “Our experience from the 2017 Women’s March shows that together we have an impact beyond our wildest dreams. Let’s work together to support that change.”
Women’s March Napa Valley’s theme this year is “First We March, Then We Vote. Hear Our Voices!”
Voting is the topic of the year, Weir said. She said that the two areas where participants can really make an impact is voter registration and “helping get out the vote on Election Day.”
The demonstrators will be gathering by Napa City Hall on School Street at 10 a.m. and begin marching to the Napa Valley Expo, 575 Third St., at 10:30 a.m. The day’s programming, which will include a voter registration area, will begin at 11 a.m. in the large parking lot next to Chardonnay Hall.
There will be performances by the Cosmos Percussion Ensemble, World Beat Dance Collective, and 10-year-old Sophie Morales. Scheduled speakers include DACA recipient Laura Lopez and Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos. There will also be a “human mosaic,” a presentation to first responders and call-and-response songs by Oakland-based activist Melanie Demore.
More than 30 nonprofit and activist representatives will be at information tables providing literature on their organizations and answering questions.
The event is scheduled to end by 1 p.m.
Last year, the march kicked off an entire year of activism, culminating locally in numerous demonstrations in support of Napa Valley’s immigrant and undocumented communities. Then the “Me Too” movement, in which individuals shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment online using the hashtag “#MeToo,” kept that fire alive.
“This year … women are ready to not only reclaim our voices but also to take back our shame and own it,” Weir said. “We are ready to tell our stories and the stories of our ancestors. When we reclaim shame, we can then celebrate life and bring this incredible energy of joy and love to the arena.”
“We want the president, the Congress and the American people to know women will peacefully resist injustice, racism (and) sexism,” said Barbara Mimoto, an activist working on Women’s March Napa Valley. “We won’t stand down, or be silenced.”
Last year’s march inspired new activists to come out and spring into action, Weir said, so organizers are hoping for more of that this year.
“We want to encourage everyone to be – as I call it – a ‘chronic activist,’” she said. Figure out what you’re passionate about and find a related organization to volunteer with, she said. “Do not wait for us – you can do it.”
For more information, visit WomensMarchNapaValley.org.