Thousands turn out for Women’s March in Phoenix to show unity, reject Trump

Thousands of women, men and children marched near the Arizona State Capitol as part of the “Rising Together” Women’s March in Phoenix on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

Several thousand women, men and children turned out Saturday in Phoenix for the Women’s March at the Arizona State Capitol.

The event largely served as a rejection of President Donald Trump, a sentiment that led to the creation of the Women’s March nationally and internationally in 2017. But under this year’s theme of “Rising Together,” the Phoenix Women’s March was a also a space where different social issues and diverse movements were visible, among them the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the recent death of 14-year-old Antonio Arce who was shot in the back while fleeing a Tempe police officer, gun violence prevention, funding public schools, accessibility for people with disabilities and reproductive health.  

“Let’s be unapologetically women, unapologetically brown, black, Indigenous, different and angry,” said activist Viri Hernandez, of the police accountability group Poder in Action, on a stage before the march began. “We are creators, and we must create a new reality — one that honors life, one that honors our mama Earth and one that centers love.”

The march was led by a group of Indigenous women and families.

Tashina Atine, who is Diné, walked as she held up a red sign that read in black letters, “Protect our Indigenous women and children.” Atine lives in Phoenix and participated in the march to raise awareness on the indigenous women who are victims of crimes and are unaccounted for.

“I am here to honor and pay my respects to indigenous women who are and have been raped, murdered and exposed to domestic violence on and off Indian country,” Atine said as the sound of a drum played in the background. “As I walk in unity with my indigenous sisters, I feel so empowered to know that, as indigenous nations, we can come together in this space and raise awareness in hopes that we can create a safe environment for our younger ones.”

Women's march
Indigenous women and families lead the Women’s March in Phoenix on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Their signs bring attention to the high rates of violent crimes and disappearances of indigenous women and girls. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

An unofficial estimate set the attendance between 6,000 and 7,000. While was considerably less compared to the previous marches – about 20,000 people showed up in 2017 and 25,000 last year – several people said the turnout was still comforting.

“I’m really happy that there are so many people that come out. I feel the sense of community,” said Temoria Mughal, 23, a graduate student at Arizona State University who marched wearing a hijab.

When she moved to Phoenix from New York in August, Mughal said she was concerned about the Arizona being unwelcoming or hostile to her. Saturday’s march gave her a sense of solidarity, she said.  

For Casa Grande resident Latrice Cooper, the turnout was a sign of a common experience around inequality.

“This is nice, everybody coming together,” Cooper said. “There’s all races, all cultures and we still get paid less than men for the same work. You see just how much we experience similar things in life based on being a woman.”

Wendy Reyes of Chandler walked holdings hands with her two kids, Chloe, 9, and Levi, 6.

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Thousands of women, men and children marched near the Arizona State Capitol as part of the “Rising Together” Women’s March in Phoenix on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

“I want to show my daughter how important it is for women to be involved politically,” Reyes said. “How important it is to use our voices, our power.”

Reyes said she was motivated to participate in the event because a record number of women are serving in the U.S. Congress. Her aunt, Esther Salcedo, walked next to Reyes.

“There’s so many passionate people, it is motivating to see the unity among us all,” Salcedo said.

During the event, a handful of Patriot Movement AZ members walked along the march carrying Trump and Make America Great Again flags.

The crowd chanted at them, “Love, not hate, makes America great!”

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A group of Patriot Movement AZ members walk along the Women’s March Phoenix in support of President Donald Trump while others in the march hold signs rejecting him. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

At the state Capitol, where the march ended, Patriot Movement AZ members Lesa Antone and Jennifer Harrison mocked and taunted Women’s March attendees on why they reject President Trump.

Maria Flores stood nearby and watched. Flores said the group has the right to express what they think.

It was Flores’ first Women’s March. Anger over the family separation of migrant children motivated her to show up to this year’s march. She said she came out to be visible and “take up space.”

“It’s important to know women are not submissive, we are here, we are taking space, we matter, we have love in our hearts,” Flores said.

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Maria Flores of Phoenix attended the Women’s March at the Arizona State Capitol on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Her sign that read in Spanish “Neither submissive, nor devout. Free, beautiful and crazy woman.” Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

About an hour after the march finished, a group of girls and young and older woman began to dance next to a speaker playing pop music.  

Jaedyn Kelling, 22, held her “Future is Female” sign as she danced, while Dianne Basher shook her hips next to her. When the song ended, Basher did a spin and then landed in a full split, and the crowd around her cheered.

“I love the energy here,” Basher said.

women's march
Dianne Basher (left) dances next to Jaedyn Kelling (center) at the Arizona State Capitol during the Women’s March Phoenix 2019 on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror
Laura Gómez
Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez covers state politics and immigration for the Arizona Mirror. She worked for The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona for four years, covering city government, economic development, immigration, politics and trade. In 2017, Laura traveled the length of the U.S.-Mexico border for “The Wall,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning project produced by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network. She was named Best Investigative Reporter by Phoenix Magazine in its 2018 newspaper category and has been honored by the Arizona Press Club for Spanish-language news and feature reporting. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia and lived in Puerto Rico and Boston before moving to Phoenix in 2014. Catch her researching travel deals, feasting on mariscos or playing soccer.

1 COMMENT

  1. Women have come along way since 1920 when they were given the right to vote legally throughout our great nation. Women are now the majority in universities across the United States and are trying to improve themselves on a personal level. You are starting to pass us males right on by on the highway of life. “Slow traffic (Males) keep to the right!”

    But there still are women that seem to want to keep themselves and other women oppressed which is usually motivated by some sort of “Religious Belief” and/or the “Bible.”

    Religion and/or the Bible can be used as a weapon in many cases. I grew up in Indianapolis and I am fully aware that Reverend Jim Jones, infamous for his Peoples Temple cult started in Indiana and had a church on the south side of Indianapolis. (Hoosiers are easily turned into sheep like followers) Many of the fools that drank Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid in Jonestown, Guyana were Jones’ easy to manipulated Hoosiers.

    Women are doing pretty awesome but I’m sure in backward states like Indiana, Arizona, Mississippi and other “Sh**hole” states south of the Mason–Dixon line Line it’s still a struggle. Keep up the up the good work ladies you have more than earned your spot in American Society.

    Under no circumstances listen to anyone that tells you to “shut up and dribble.”

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