santa cruz women's march 2017
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Women’s March and Pro-Choice Brunch Planned for Jan. 20

Reproductive Rights Network schedules annual morning event on day of action

Last year's women's march drew a crowd of at least 10,000 people. This year's march will be Saturday, Jan. 20.

By any measure, the 2017 local Women’s March was a big success, amassing somewhere between 10,000 and 18,000 marchers on the streets of downtown Santa Cruz. No one’s really sure on the exact number, because apparently when pussy hats get together they all meld into a sea of bobbing pink unity. The Santa Cruz Police Department said 10,000, while the Santa Cruz County Women’s March said 18,000. Potato, po-tah-to. Anyway, what we do know for sure is that there was a boat load of people out to express outrage at the unapologetic misogynist who had claimed the White House the day before.

With plans for round two now well underway, there have now been about 365 days to sit on all that rage—much longer than the mere weeks we had before last year’s march. And so now, thousands of empowered, determined women (and, of course, their friends) are ready to walk, talk, chant and scream for justice once again.

The Women’s March will be on Saturday, Jan. 20, and begins around noon at Locust Street and Pacific Avenue.

Anyone looking for something to do beforehand may want to check out the Reproductive Rights Network of Santa Cruz County, which is is hosting its annual Pro-Choice Brunch on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Santa Cruz, 250 California St.

Karlyn Bennehoof, senior development officer for the Center for Reproductive Rights, will be the day’s keynote speaker, and donations are kindly requested, as they make everything else possible. “We usually give our speakers an honorarium. This year we’re having three speakers,” says Carole Fuller, chair of the network, which is made up of 50 other organizations. “We usually hold enough money to keep it ’til the next year. We have to pay for the rental of the space and the food. We’ve also sent money, in the past, to clinics that have been firebombed.”

This year’s theme is “The Defense Never Rests” for this annual Roe v. Wade celebration that Fuller says began 25 years ago in an effort to pressure then-California Senator Henry Mello to stop voting to defund Medi-Cal abortion coverage. Mello definitely got the message, Fuller remembers, as he began voting differently.

All year, women’s voices have made headlines, whether it was Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), actress Rose McGowan, or Oprah.

And the #MeToo movement helped make “feminism” the 2017 word of the year, according to Merriam-Webster.

At the Women’s March, this year’s theme is “Be the Change,” highlighting continued resistance to the Trump administration. There will be an activist fair, food, art, speakers, and music.

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