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Women's Marchers In Los Angeles Hope To Lead The Fight Against Trump Administration


Millions of people around the U.S. and the world took part in Women's Marches yesterday. One of the larger ones was held in Los Angeles. NPR's Ina Jaffe reports that people at the march said they hope California will play a leading role in the resistance to President Donald Trump.


GINA BELAFONTE: Good morning, Los Angeles.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: Actress Gina Belafonte greeted tens of thousands of people gathered Pershing Square downtown.


BELAFONTE: Welcome to the Women's March LA.


JAFFE: Many more thousands missed that welcome. So many people turned out for the march that the public transit system couldn't cope. Train platforms across the city were crowded with would-be passengers who watched as train after jam-packed train passed by without accepting them.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Unintelligible).

JAFFE: But that was OK. It was still part of the Women's March experience.

VICTORIA MARX: Well, I have tears in my eyes. I just think it's so moving.

JAFFE: Said Victoria Marx.

MARX: I feel like we are called upon to act and to figure out how to be good citizens right now, so this seems like a good start.

JAFFE: Downtown, the crowd continued to grow. When it was time to march from Pershing Square to City Hall, one street could not contain everyone, so there were three separate marches on parallel streets. That's one reason the Los Angeles Police Department couldn't determine the exact size of the crowd, though various estimates place it in the hundreds of thousands.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) This is what democracy looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Chanting) This is what democracy looks like.

JAFFE: The signs were as diverse as the people who carried them. Some said a woman's place is in the resistance and featured a picture of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in "Star Wars." Another played off the Russian word for no - nyet my president. That was pretty much the attitude of both marchers and speakers. Hilda Solis is an LA County supervisor.


HILDA SOLIS: Let's show Trump that he doesn't represent Los Angeles County in California.

JAFFE: California's elected officials, predominantly Democrats, have been defiant since Trump was elected. State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon says that Californians don't need to heal from the results of the election. They need to fight.

ANTHONY RENDON: The Trump administration's an existential threat to not only the gains that we've made as a state but actually, I think, to democracy itself.

JAFFE: There was a lot of California pride among the marchers, including Nancy Ambriz and Brittany Smith.

NANCY AMBRIZ: California's such a mesh of different cultures. Like, I'm Mexican. Brittany's black. I have, like, Salvadorian friends. I have Jordanian friends.

JAFFE: But Brittany Smith added that LA's easygoing embrace of difference could be in peril.

BRITTANY SMITH: With our new president, a lot of hate has definitely swarmed.


SMITH: And it's concerning for a lot of people, a lot of us who are women or minority or not heterosexual.

JAFFE: This was the first time that Ambriz and Smith had ever been to a demonstration. Christine Stangeland, who's in her mid-70s, hopes they make a regular thing of it.

CHRISTINE STANGELAND: It's way overdue for the next generation to step up to the plate after all the years that I, myself, personally have tried to make an effort to be supportive of not only my rights as a woman but the next generation's.

JAFFE: Younger people need to know, she says, that you can march for decades, as she has, and still find there's a long way to go.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ina Jaffe is a veteran NPR correspondent covering the aging of America. Her stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered have focused on older adults' involvement in politics and elections, dating and divorce, work and retirement, fashion and sports, as well as issues affecting long term care and end of life choices. In 2015, she was named one of the nation's top "Influencers in Aging" by PBS publication Next Avenue, which wrote "Jaffe has reinvented reporting on aging."