Women’s March on Sacramento reaches Capitol steps with 20,000 people, police say

Opinions, issues abound among thousands of Women's March participants in Sacramento

Sacramento Women's March participants share reasons they were part of a crowd estimated at 20,000 or more who took to the capital's streets on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.
Up Next
Sacramento Women's March participants share reasons they were part of a crowd estimated at 20,000 or more who took to the capital's streets on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

An estimated 20,000 people marched to the State Capitol as part of the Women’s March on Sacramento, a day of activism to promote women’s rights and human rights after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

It was believed to be the largest Capitol demonstration in decades.

The Sacramento event was one of 673 “sister marches” across the world for people who could not make it to the Women’s March on Washington or who wanted to demonstrate in their own cities. Here is a blog-style account of the day’s events.

MORE FROM SACRAMENTO: The faces of Sacramento’s Women’s March

AROUND THE WORLD: Big crowds turn out for women's marches around the world

IN WASHINGTON: Huge turnout for women’s march dwarfs Trump inauguration crowd

4:40 p.m.

With the Sacramento march over, Bee reporter Nashelly Chavez contacted two Sacramento women who attended the Washington, D.C. march today.

Sacramento social worker Tatiana Morfas arrived in Washington on Friday, and said in a telephone interview after the event that she was taken aback by the sheer number of people who showed up.

“It’s really good to see such resistance and see that people won’t let their rights get taken away from them,” said Morfas, who learned of the demonstration shortly after the election and said she wanted to be a part of the “one-in-a-lifetime march.”

Sacramento native Sarah Cornett arrived at 4:30 a.m. after driving from St. Louis, where she is completing a public policy fellowship.

Cornett described a sense of camaraderie, with strangers sharing snacks and helping those who were lost.

“It seemed like it would be a great opportunity to witness a historic gathering,” she said. “It felt powerful to be among so many people today especially after such a tense election.”

– Nashelly Chavez

4:00 p.m.

The event officially ended shortly before 4 p.m. and organizers began breaking down everything, according to Sacramento police.

3:15 p.m.

The drizzle of the last hour has turned into rain showers, and only a few hundred marchers remain at the event. Organizers said they are waiting for former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, to arrive from Oakland.

Among the afternoon’s speakers were a group of McClatchy High School students. Annie Thurman, 18, said, “There’s a lot of African American students like me who want more but don’t know how to get it.”

– Alexei Koseff

2:00 p.m.

Participants have been leaving Capitol Park since the march ended and the lunch hour arrived, but the rally on the West Steps continues.

Organizers of the march urged protesters to keep momentum from the Women’s March going. “The clock starts now. We need to get moving – yesterday.”

Emcee Tracie Stafford said, “The bottom line is our circumstances do not define us. We define us.”

– Alexei Koseff

1:20 p.m.

The Sacramento Women’s Chorus led the Women’s March on Sacramento rally in singing the National Anthem.

– Alexei Koseff

12:55 p.m.

Hardly any counterprotesters appeared Saturday, but one made himself known with a neon green hoodie and a large sign declaring “Hell is horrible, no warning is too strong!”

“Gabe the Street Preacher” initially tried to stand on the edge of Capitol Park near the corner of 10th and L streets, but CHP officers told him he’d have to move to the sidewalk closer to the street because the Women’s March organizers had a permit and he did not.

“Gabe” said he was there because activists were “"preaching a lot of tolerance here and not telling people about sin.” Some marchers thanked the CHP for asking him to move farther from the rally.

– Nashelly Chavez

12:40 p.m.

The Sacramento Police Department estimates that approximately 20,000 people participated in today’s Women’s March on Sacramento.

12:20 p.m.

As the rally begins, the crowd stretches about two blocks long on Capitol Mall from the West Steps to 9th Street. Some march participants headed out after arriving at the Capitol.

– Alexei Koseff

12:15 p.m.

Councilwoman Angelique Ashby has taken the stage. “There is no time for fear. Fear is a liability. We are not ever going back.”

– Ed Fletcher

12:05 p.m.

The rally in Sacramento has begun. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg was the first to address the crowd, saying “We have not lost our ability to stand and march together.”

Steinberg added, “This is the opposite of human carnage,” a reference to the phrase Trump used Friday in his inaugural speech to describe the state of affairs in America before he took office.

– Ed Fletcher

11:40 a.m.

Capitol Mall continues to fill ahead of a noon rally on the West Steps. Here’s a view from the Capitol from Twitter user @MargaretMorneau of Roseville.

11:20 a.m.

The last of the women’s march crowd has left Southside Park, more than an hour after the first group departed.

– Alexei Koseff

11:15 a.m.

Ed Fletcher has been posting live video from the march on Facebook here.

People are marching down the grass median on the Capitol Mall as a constant beat of drums plays in the background.

Apologies for video disruptions; live video has been more challenging than usual today because of data transmission problems around the march.

– Ed Fletcher

11:05 a.m.

At the state Capitol, thousands continue to arrive for the noon rally on the West Steps, many filling the Capitol Mall.

People are standing around, and a band has begun playing. The crowd is a sea of pink with tons of signs, and mother-daughter duos are a common sight.

Shama Aleemuddin, a Roseville mother and a Muslim American, said she came with her 5-year-old daughter and their friends. She said she felt that Trump’s message has been that “Muslims are a cancer,” and she was on hand to demonstrate against that. She also said she’s afraid that of the impact Trump’s message might have on children.

So far, hardly any counterprotesters have been seen along the march route or at the Capitol.

– Nashelly Chavez

11:00 a.m.

Participants are still departing Southside Park for the 1.2-mile march to the State Capitol, nearly an hour after the first marchers left.

Across the street at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, a gift shop manager said he’s let “zillions” of people in to use the church’s restroom. He opposes abortion – a position counter to what many activists said they are marching for – but said everyone has the right to protest.

– Alexei Koseff and Ed Fletcher

10:30 a.m.

The front of the Women’s March on Sacramento has arrived at the West Steps of the State Capitol.

But thousands of people are still jam-packed into Southside Park, the starting point for the event, according Bee reporter Ed Fletcher. The mood is light and jovial, with many people holding signs.

Some of those still in the park were unsure whether the march had begun and didn’t realize the front of the group had already reached the Capitol.

Data networks appear to be jammed by all of the participants, as it has been impossible to use Facebook’s live video feature from the march this morning.

– Nashelly Chavez and Ed Fletcher

10:05 a.m.

The march got underway about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled, around 10:05 a.m. Organizers said Friday the 1.2-mile route will head northeast on 6th Street, then west on R Street, then north on 5th Street and finally east to Capitol Mall.

At the front of the march, people chanted, “Enough is enough, we won’t go back!”

– Nashelly Chavez

Thousands of people join the Women's March in Sacramento, in partnership with the Women's March in Washington, D.C., and one of hundreds of "sister marches" across the nation and the world to promote women's rights and human rights after the inaug

10:00 a.m.

When thousands of people show up to your neighborhood park for a march, it’s bound to be good for business that day.

Political consultant Paul Mitchell posted a shot of Insight Coffee Roasters a block away from the park, teeming with people. “Guess I picked the wrong day to get a coffee and relax at @insightcoffee,” he mused.

– Kevin Yamamura

9:55 a.m.

Thousands of people have arrived at Southside Park in Sacramento for the Women’s March on Sacramento.

Heather Rafferty came from Truckee with Ruby, 8, and Delia, 7. “I’m pretty much here for my girls to show them that they can be anything,” she said.

Margaret O’Hair, a kindergarten teacher in Roseville, came with her dogs Sailor and Surfer: “I’m for education and for kids.”

– Alexei Koseff

9:30 a.m.

Looks like many people heeded advice to take transit – so many that Regional Transit trains and stations are jammed this morning.

Carol Dirksen said she and her husband were lucky to squeeze onto a train at the 65th Street station and found people sitting on each other’s laps.

“There were people that allowed me to basically step on their toes,” she said.

The mood was congenial, she said, but she said, “RT completely dropped the ball” because people have been stranded at light-rail stations. Some people are reporting the same issues on social media this morning.

That mirrors the situation in Washington, D.C., where Metro stations have been flooded with people trying to get to the march there.

– Kevin Yamamura

This is a breaking news report that will be curated throughout the day. Please check back for updates.

Scenes outside Union Station as crowds of marchers arrive by bus and train to participate in the Women's March on Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

Related stories from Sacramento Bee