LAGUNA PARTICIPANTS IN THE WOMEN'S MARCH IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AND FELLOW MARCHERS IN OAKLAND
One hundred men and women (actually 90 women and ten men) traveled in two buses from Laguna Beach to participate in what turned out to be an historic Women's March LA. Arriving in buses arranged through Hoffy Tours, a local tour company owned by Bill Hoffman, the group arrived at Pershing Square at 9 am and quickly became part of an energized mass of over 500,000 plus marchers,
Despite the bottleneck in the square, the group made their way to City Hall and back participating in a festive display of signs, chants, costumes, speakers and entertainers. There were so many marchers, in fact, that the Laguna group didn't get to hear many of the speakers. But it didn't seem to matter. The true energy came from the spontaneous display of solidarity, enthusiasm and common purpose.
Farie Momayez, PhD, commented: "The LA March was massive. The estimate was 750,000. We left Laguna around 7:30am and got to LA before 9:00am. We got caught in a crowd that didn't move(couldn't because of the numbers.) We didn't hear any of the speeches, and didn't see any celebrities, but my personal and collective experience was priceless. I felt a surge of incredible energy and vigor that I had lost after the outcome of the election. I even had a talk with a Trump supporter who had come to fight, but we ended up hugging! That is enough for me to go on and continue the needed work."
Some of the group had always been active in the 70s, but many were first time "activists" who felt, "If not now...when!" Members of the group are currently exchanging information to form a local group to maintain the momentum through phone calls, texting, post cards and other activities to ensure accountability and the preservation of women's and human rights.
Yolanda Mendiveles shared the following: "Everyone there was peaceful and friendly, and there was a lightness and exuberant mood in the air. There was a small group of people playing samba drums, and I saw a group of people dressed in Aztec attire as well as other costumes. I saw Rob Reiner, Anjelica Houston and Maria Shriver in the crowd alongside of us. It felt good to be part of a movement to stand up for human rights of all kinds. To tolerate our differences with respect to honor each individual's journey."
Bill stated, "I don't think we'll ever forget that incredible March on Saturday. Beautiful weather, positive energy, creative and nice people, wonderful signs, and most of all...standing up for respect and dignity for all. The crowds were tremendous and, at time, slow moving, but I think we were all moved beyond words."