An estimated 36,000 people marched to the state Capitol for the second Sacramento Women’s March, according to event co-chairwoman Annie Adams.
The number rose well above attendance estimates for last year’s event, when police said about 20,000 marchers participated.
The Sacramento Police Department did not report any arrests, said Officer Linda Matthew, department spokeswoman.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The California Highway Patrol’s Capitol Protective Services did not immediately return a request for information.
Teenagers and young women took center stage at Women’s March Sacramento in a series of aspirational speeches that described their dreams to become scientists and leaders.
“I have big dreams and high expectations and I am mighty enough to deliver them,” said Kennedy Schoennauer, 12.
One group of Girl Scouts led by UC Davis researcher Reem al Olaby paid tribute to Sophie and Sara Rouin, the West Sacramento sisters who were killed by their father on New Year’s Eve. The Rouin sisters had been members of the group.
“We will always remember Sophie and Sara and we’ll do our best to make their dreams come true in making this world a better place,” the girls said.
The Sacramento Women’s March is partly a rally calling on Democrats to show up and vote in November’s congressional election.
Some signs carried by attendees read, “Flip the House,” “Be the Change, Vote 2018” and “Vote Female 2018.”
Some marchers are carrying signs for candidates trying to unseat incumbent Republicans. One of them is Regina Bateson, who is challenging Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove.
Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg contrasted that enthusiasm with the despondency Democrats felt last year after President Donald Trump’s election.
“A year ago we wondered how bad it would be and it certainly has lived up to expectations,” he said. “But we are stronger, too. We have resisted and we have organized.”
Three women who launched a campaign drawing attention to sexual harassment in the state Legislature kicked off the Women’s March rally on the Capitol steps.
“We are empowered. We are no longer alone,” said lobbyist Adama Iwu, one of the founders of the We Said Enough campaign.
She was followed by Alicia Lewis, a lobbyist who has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired from her firm because she spoke out about sexual harassment in the Capitol community.
“They can shame us, they can call us sluts, they can call us crazy, but speaking from experience, they can only fire you once and then you can come back tomorrow and raise hell,” she said.
The crowd is not as dense as last year’s women’s march, but it stretches from the Capitol down several blocks of Capitol Mall.
Adama Iwu, one of the women behind the We Said Enough movement, told the march crowd at the state Capitol, “We are making change, you are making change. And this is just the beginning. Women are a force of good.”
She also talked about teaching men to respect women.
Attendees arrived to the state Capitol, with a contingent with the Sacramento League of Women Voters leading the march.
Estelle Ekpo, 28, said she attended last year’s march and felt this year was more inclusive to people of different backgrounds.
She said she was especially looking forward to hearing the event’s keynote speakers, Adama Iwu, Alícia Lewis and Samantha Corbin, three of the women behind the We Said Enough movement.
The movement began in October, after almost 150 female Capitol workers, including lobbyists, politicians and staffers penned a letter addressing what they described as a pervasive issue of sexual harassment and assault in California politics.
Speakers are scheduled to take the stage at noon.
Elizabeth Wells, the creative organizer for the California arm of Planned Parenthood, said Saturday’s march was an opportunity to stand up against continued sexism, racism, homophobia and other threats to civil liberties.
She and a group of a few dozen Planned Parenthood supporters, volunteers and employees formed a contingent at the march.
“We’re fed up but we’re activists,” she said. “We’re here to ask the California Legislature, ‘Can you hear us?’ ”
March chants so far include, “We are women, we are here.” “This is what democracy looks like.”
The Rev. Terri Miller, who works for The Valley Ministries MCC in Stockton but lives in Sacramento, said the women’s march is a display of the “power of the positive” amid the hateful speech spewed by President Donald Trump.
“I’ve seen people come together that don’t usually come together, that gives me hope,” she said.
Hilary Hodge, 37, came from Nevada County with two buses of men and women who wanted to celebrate the event at the state Capitol. Hodge is running for a supervisor seat in the county’s Third District. It’s the first time she’s run for office, she said.
“We really need to close the ritual access gap for rural California,” she said, adding that some in her community don’t have access to basic utilities like high-speed internet.
Hundreds of women gathered Saturday morning at Southside Park Saturday for the second Sacramento Women’s March, ahead of the 10 a.m. meeting time set by organizers.
The Sacramento Police Department did not have initial crowd counts, but are estimating a total of about about 30,000 people to attend the event by the end of the day, said Officer Linda Matthew, a department spokeswoman.
That number would exceed the 20,000 that police say attended last year’s march, which also started at Southside Park and led to the state Capitol.
Several attendees donned pink hats and held signs with messages of support for women’s rights and that were critical of the current presidential administration.
Saturday’s march is one of hundreds planned across the globe.
The Sacramento march will step off at 11 a.m., heading up Fifth Street at T Street.