Woman’s March comes to Bakersfield

By Martin Nillsen, Special to the News Observer

People of both sexes, male, female, even a few non-gender specific, packed out Mill Creek Park on Saturday, January 19 for the third annual Woman’s March. There was plenty of diversity on display at the event; all ages, all races, all creeds stepped out into the sunshine to wave protest signs on a wide variety of topics. People in favor of Women’s Rights, Transgender Rights, Equality, and Reproductive Rights were all represented. For Bakersfield, known as a staunchly conservative community, the Women’s March proved to be a virtual clearinghouse for local minority viewpoint.    

The demonstration came at a most opportune time. National events relating to the march, began in 2017 as a reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decisive policies, have been at the forefront of the nation’s collective mind as of late. A diverse number of women were elected to the House in November and has given the Trump administration notice that they will not wield unbridled power.

Rabbi Cheryl Rosenstein of Bakersfield’s Temple Beth-El uplifted the crowd with her Biblical testimony. “The Book of Genesis relates that all humanity has just two parents. The lesson in that is this: We are family! All of us. No one is better than anyone else.

Rosenstein also exhorted the crowd to look into each other’s eye and recognize the holiness and inherent worth of their fellow human being. “Genesis also tells us that God breathed life into the first human being. That breath is life. Our very breath is divinely sourced.”

The Bakersfield’s Women’s March drew a large number of senior citizens, who remarked that they began demonstrating in the 1960’s said it was high time to once again take to the streets to make sure that their voices were heard. One older gentleman remarked that his arm was getting tired holding u his protest sign “as I’ve been doing it since the Sixties, and we still don’t have equality.”

Surprisingly, there appeared to be no counter-demonstration by Bakersfield’s more conservative groups, for a national weekend that was blighted by privileged college students taunting a Native American veteran.

While the women’s movement appears to be gaining speed, with the declaration of California Senator Kamala Harris announcing her candidacy for presidency in 2020, there appears to be some division in the ranks. Conservative women’s groups, such as Pro-Life Demonstrators, have complained that they have not been allowed to participate. There have also been women’s groups who have decried the transgender women in the movement, saying that they are “part-time women.”

One organizer said that while these issues may be brewing at the national level, they did not appear to have impeded the movement locally.