Earlier this week, women and allies came together to discuss the planning of the first ever Women’s March in Stockton. It is being led by the Stockton Younger Women’s Task Force in collaboration with The OWL Movement and other organizations. The Younger Women’s Task Force is “a movement by and for younger women to fight for social justice.” Informational meetings were held November 16 at Round Table Pizza and November 17 at Trail Coffee, a local coffee shop located in downtown Stockton. The March will be held January 19, 2019.
It was beautiful to see so many women come together and express why having a Women’s March was important to them.
When I asked Seidy Ayala, a resident of Stockton, why she attended the informational she stated, “I’m tired of having to leave my community to do things I love and the things that matter to me.”
Many of the women spoke about why having the Women’s March in Stockton was important to them and some of the reasons were that they wanted to change the narrative of how others perceived Stockton, they wanted to create equity in the community and as one woman expressed she wanted to “do it for our children of Stockton.”
As I observed the women as they spoke, I could identify with them. I remember last year being at the Women’s March in Sacramento and meeting a number of women from Stockton and thinking to myself “Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was held in our city?”
I believe that having the Women’s March in Stockton is extremely important for a number of reasons. I have sincerely met the strongest and most inspiring women in Stockton. The leadership that I have seen in the women that live here is impeccable and the love they hold for the community has always been prominent in the work that they do. I have also seen time and time again that many of the women that have worked hard and have changed Stockton for the better, especially women of color, are not acknowledged for their positive contributions to our community, an acknowledgement they deserve.
Another reason that I think the Women’s March needs to be in Stockton is because of the impact it would have on the youth especially the young women that I have met and worked with. The youth have a lot of potential and being a part of the March may inspire our young women to speak their truth and raise their voices. Working with Stockton youth has been a blessing and I believe that they can become empowered by the women in the community. I also truly believe that the older generation can learn from the the youth organizers and overall learn how to support the youth when they speak about the issues that matter to them.
Stockton is very diverse and I cannot emphasize how critical it is to the women’s movement that the different women that live in this city are properly represented both in the planning process and at the March. It is also important to uplift each other and tell the stories that are not being told. As women, there are many issues that affect us and some of the issues are particular because of the city that we live in. It’s time that we speak on them if we have not already with the intent of bringing awareness and solutions.
Below are pictures of the second informational held at Trail Coffee. After stating the reason the women showed up, they were able to choose which committee they wanted to become a part of and then they met separately to exchange contact information and talk more in depth of the role they would take in the planning process.
I can honestly say that it is an exciting time for our community. Stockton is far from perfect but there have been quite a few changes that have resulted in positive outcomes, like this March. It’s time to change the narrative about Stockton while acknowledging the different issues that affect women from all walks of life. Lastly, we must acknowledge that there is much more that needs to be done.
Thank you for reading!
Angelica Garcia Flores