By Ken Stone
With maybe 100 gathered on the grassy slope behind the Comic-Con Museum, Janet Ashforth delivered unwelcome news Saturday morning.
“If this is all the people we end up having, I am going to call the march and cancel it,” she told the Balboa Park gathering through a bullhorn. “You will be welcome to do it on your own. But I won’t be leading it with this many people.”
Groans rained down.
But then a woman with a multicolored backpack immediately took Ashforth’s place.
“If she calls the march, I’m happy to lead the march for us,” said Mandy, who declined to give her last name.
Cheers went up.
A loosely organized march eventually attracted the expected 300 (mostly women but a few dozen men), which made a loud but low-key loop of downtown San Diego after crossing the Cabrillo Bridge over state Route 163.
The event wasn’t organized by Women’s March San Diego — which instead promoted what it called a “safe, virtual action for our community” the same day rather that an in-person march.
“The 10/17/20 event scheduled under the name ‘Women’s March’ is not ours,” Times of San Diego was told Friday via email, “nor did we participate in the planning. We do wish the organizers all the best, and support marchers who feel safe in joining this action.”
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Women’s March San Diego led a project texting California voters to “ensure they have the information they need to vote safely, confidently and early,” organizers said.
With Athena Basalaki of Mountain View leading chants from the front, the march had San Diego police on motorcycles and cruisers paving the way and following behind.
Knitted pink pussy hats — recalling the original nationwide and San Diego women’s marches of January 2017 — were handed out (for free) just before the march began around 11:30 a.m.
A pickup truck carried a Biden-for-president sign. A banner was displayed tweaking President Trump for paying little or no taxes. It served as a selfie background for people milling before the march.
Handmade signs, many denouncing Trump and paying tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, were carried on a beautiful light-breeze day in the high 70s. Everyone wore face masks, and marchers kept a little space between each other.
“Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go” went one chant. “The women, united, will never be divided” went another.
Marchers passed through the courtyard of the Museum of Us — with signs showing the old name crossed out: Museum of Man
“All of us,” said another sign.
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