Highlights of San Diego Women's March 2018

Judy Hyde of University City wanted an unusual Christmas gift. She asked a friend to knit her a pussy hat.

A marcher adapted the title from of book about oppression to show her support for women. Photo by Chris Stone

The 82-year-old proudly wore the pink pointed cap as she joined tens of thousands of people who marched Saturday through downtown San Diego in the second annual Women’s March.

“I’ve waited 80 years for this cultural change,” Hyde said while waiting for the march to begin. “Women are coming into their own. We have more opportunities.”

Hyde said she wished she could live longer to see more women reach their “full potential.”

The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while a North County event in San Marcos began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.

Judy Collier from Ocean Beach said she wanted to see a kinder America.

“I’ve had it with crassness and cruddy language,” Collier said. “I want my America back again as a place of ideals.”

“When all of us unite like this, it gives me hope and gets e out of being angry or sad. It’s a reaffirmation of the values that makes this country great,” Collier concluded.

Patrick Merrick of Murrieta supported his wife at the march.

“We need to be inclusive, not exclusive and we need to find a way to meet in the middle through dialog,” Merrick said. “There was a large percentage of people who didn’t vote (in the 2016 election)…Anything to raise awareness is wonderful.”

Celeste Shelton of Carmel Valley was in a group including grandparents and young girls, including her 11-year-old daughter, Gwen.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber gave an impassioned speech before the march. Photo by Chris Stone

Gwen said, “I’m here to march for women and women’s rights.”

Her mother added, “It’s important to have an ongoing discussion of women’s rights with her. I want her to grow up in a world of peace and equality for everybody.”

Speeches continued at the San Diego event for about an hour before marchers started to make their way through a circuit downtown starting on Harbor Drive that was blocked to vehicle traffic by police.

Speakers included state Sen. Toni Atkins, Nancy Nagle of the Santa Ysabel Kumeyaay Nation, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, SDCCD trustee Dr. Maria Nieto Senour, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, Councilwomen Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez.

This year’s theme, “Hear Our Vote” was meant to engage voters to support women’s rights, human rights, social and environmental justice, and to encourage participation in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Look at all of us,” Bry said. “This is our time. This is our year. We can, and we must, put women where they belong — in public office everywhere.”

Gomez told marchers that San Diego, in its location just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, is a “binational” city, and the multiculturalism it represents should be celebrated.

“And if (President Donald) Trump wants to build a wall, what are we going to do? Stand up, fight back,” she said. “Let’s continue to do the work. Let’s continue to demand justice. Continue to demand a better world.”

Cathy Stoll from Carlsbad said she wanted to reinforce her believes about the president. Photo by Chris Stone

In a nod to the Kumeyaay Nation members present, 2018 Women’s March director Monica Boyle told the crowd that she wanted to “acknowledge that the land on which we live is the unseated territory of the Kumeyaay people whose land extends where we stand to halfway (into) what is now known as Baja California.”

Boyle said the crowd at this year’s march was even bigger than last year’s, though San Diego Police Department officials estimated about 37,000 people attended Saturday’s march (last year’s estimate was between 30,000 and 40,000 people).

Coaster and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner rail service were halted in San Diego County this weekend to allow crews to complete improvements, but replacement bus services were made available to shuttle attendees to the downtown march.

Amtrak also opted to run trains every half-hour until 3:15 p.m. between Old Town San Diego and Santa Fe Depot, and the Metropolitan Transit System increased bus and trolley service.

— City News Service contributed to this report.