Marchers fill Chico streets


Photo credit: Jovanna Garcia

George Johnston

An estimated 2,000 to 4,000 people packed the Chico City Plaza Jan. 21 to participate in the Women’s March. Like the other marches taking place all over the world, this gathering was conceived as a way for everyone to voice their concerns to the new president about women’s rights and show signs of solidarity with one another.

People began coming to city plaza with homemade signs about women’s rights and President Trump. The march began around 10 a.m. with opening remarks by Chico State professor Lindsay Briggs. Several others spoke after Briggs and the speeches ended with a 92-year-old World War II veteran, Faye Haley.

Chico State Professor Lindsay Briggs talks to the crowd gathered at the city plaza Jan. 21 Photo credit: Jovanna Garcia


“I gotta tell you all, I am happy to see you all there,” Haley said. “There was a slogan when I was young that said ‘you’ve come a long ways, baby, but we got a long way to go!”

After Haley concluded her speech, people filed their way out of the plaza and began marching in the streets of Chico, which began on Fifth Street and made its way to Broadway Street.


Women, men and children walk down Broadway Street Jan. 21. Photo credit: Jovanna Garcia


The marchers were chanting “hey hey, hey ho! The patriarchy must go,” and “Chico united never divided,” while walking through the downtown area. Chico Police and Fire Department worked with organizers of the Women’s March, helping to keep things orderly and safe for everyone.

Guests from the Mechoopda Tribe and the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center spoke from noon to 3 p.m. and helped close the march.

Chico resident and environmentalist, Lauren Ayers, thought the march had a great significance to the community.

“I’m so happy some women got together to organize it,” Ayers said. “I’m so happy to be a part of something happening around the world. I’m thrilled there are men and boys here and everybody knew they would be welcome.”

Ayers says the march spread the kind of awareness citizens should have over the next four years.


Crowds of marchers make their way back to city plaza. Photo credit: Jovanna Garcia

Not everybody was on board with the Women’s March. Kayla Ariza was one of the few Trump supporters at the event.

“I am here to make a stand for men,” Ariza said. “I believe women have already had their rights. Of course, discrimination happens, but just not to women. It’s not susceptible. Men are more discriminated against than women, especially when it comes to children.”

Ariza works at a bar in Chico and says the bartenders and barbacks who do five times the amount of work she does should be paid more than her, but thinks it’s good that people can gather for what they believe in.

“Everybody has the right to rally no matter what’s it about,” she said.


George Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.