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Palomar embraces community in Women’s March

March participant Abel Valls holds a sign with a mirror to convey that participants can make a change on Jan. 21. Johnny Jones /The Telescope

North County residents paraded into Palomar the day after the presidential inauguration to voice their concerns about Trump’s presidency and the future of their rights, many of whom held signs high in resistance.

The North County San Diego Women’s March, aligned with a sister march in Downtown San Diego and the Women’s March on Washington movement, was held on Jan. 21 and saw an attendance of more than 3,000 participants. The marchers gathered at the San Marcos Civic Center at 11 a.m. and proceeded at noon to march toward Palomar College.

The crowd was composed of generational families, groups of friends and solitary men and women. The march overflowed the sidewalk, spilling over the curb onto the street and grass on both sides. The crowd was peaceful and participants engaged in chants advocating their rights.

According to Campus Police, the crowd stretched back to Pico Avenue, roughly two miles away from the campus, when marchers began arriving at the college. Several participants raised signs they had made with quotes including “Equal Pay and Opportunity,” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” and “Trump Leadership: I’m not PUTIN Up With it!”

The event was organized by Palomar Faculty Federation Co-President Shannon Leinhart and Governing Board Member Nina Deerfield, along with Taz Nizam and Sue Alderson. Hundreds of volunteers also helped plan the event.

Deerfield said the turnout of participants vastly exceeded the initial expectation of a couple hundred. She said she considers the event to be historic, and that no event like it has ever taken place in North County before.

March participants felt strongly about supporting human rights. Abel Valls said he sees a lack of equality and wants everyone to have the same benefits that he has. He held a sign reading “This is the Face of Democracy” above a mirror. The intention of his sign was to inspire people to be the change that they wish to

Palomar Michael Mufson rallies thousands of march participants in the Women’s March North County San Diego on Jan 21 at the Palomar College campus. Johnny Jones /The Telescope

see.

“I think it is a positive thing and we are reinforcing each other as well,” Valls said about the march.

March participant Davinaty Murdock joined the Women’s March because she felt that it was the time to be heard.

“It doesn’t matter if this is just a women’s march; it is the people march, so I think everyone needs to be here for each other,” said Murdock.

Palomar faculty, staff and students volunteered to help make the event memorable. Ingrid Trovao, a student worker at Palomar, said the college’s Performing Arts Department helped to support the event through performances.

Trovao provided information about performing arts classes offered at the college while Afro-Cuban/Brazillian Dance and Cuban & Brazilian Drum students performed to liven the event. Professor Ellen Weller, who had been on the music volunteer committee, led a group of jazz performers to play music at the event.

“I think it is important that people feel there is something they can do…the feeling of helplessness in the face of an adverse political system makes people depressed. Action creates community and gives us hope,” Weller said about participation in the event.

The march featured community speakers held on stage in the college’s main parking lot. Professor Michael Mufson said in his speech, “We are here today to let our elected officials know that progressive causes for compassion, justice and equity that we represent are in the majority,” and was joined by rally participants in chanting the words of Reverend William Barber: “Forward, together, not one step back.”

Colonel Doug Applegate, whom challenged incumbent republican Congressman Darrell Issa in the 2016 election, also spoke at the rally. He said that he was honored to be there and felt it was important to advocate change.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we win the elections…that we do get our voices in the halls of power so we can change the direction of the nation,” Applegate said.

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Palomar embraces community in Women’s March