San Diego

Thousands to Participate in San Diego Women's March to Voice Concerns From Sexual Assault to Government Shutdown

Thousands are expected to participate in the San Diego Women’s March Saturday along the Embarcadero, highlighting issues from sexism and assault to the government shutdown.

Valerie Hardie will be among them. “I feel the chain of events nationwide have inspired lots of women to come forward,” she said.

The chain of events began with the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, and since then, every January, women in cities across America have marched in unity.

Nora Vargas is the emcee for the San Diego Women’s March.

“The beauty of this march is that we all come to the table with different experiences, different backgrounds and in the end, it’s about how we stand together as a community to move forward,” Vargas said.

Last year's big push was to get out and vote.

A record 131 women are now serving in Congress. Three Congresswomen, at this point, have announced they'll explore a run for the presidency in 2020.

Navy veteran Vanessa Madrid said equality is one of the many issues driving her to this year’s march.

“I love the fact with the new councilmembers coming into office, the majority of them now are women,” Madrid said about the new faces at San Diego City Hall.

This year with the expiration of the Violence Against Women Act, the Women's March will call attention to the safety of women.

“What we’re really trying to do is ensure that we emphasize that it's really important to protect sexual assault victims,” Vargas said.

Linda Brawley is pro-choice and told NBC 7 the Supreme Court and the Kavanaugh hearings are driving her to walk. “They only need one or two more votes, and they can overturn Roe versus Wade,” she said.

This year's Women’s March is not without controversy though, with claims of anti-Semitism among the national walk organizers.

“As a group and an organization, we absolutely are against any type of anti-Semitism, any type of hatred, anything against race or religion,” Vargas said, trying to distance the San Diego march from the national organizers.

Other key components for this year’s march include the government shutdown and family separations at the border.

In the end, local organizers said the march is about improving people's lives.

“I'm stepping up for the women who may not have a voice and to say we can do better,” Hardie said.

The march will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19th at the Waterfront Park downtown.

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