The march started at Plaza Park. Photos by Patricia Schallert
by Shane Meserve, President Justice For All Ventura County
Several hundred people gathered at Plaza Park in downtown Ventura on Saturday, January 21st to honor free speech in the United States and to state our concerns on a number of fronts. Many people, from over a dozen elected officials from all over the County, to local citizens, spoke about their hopes, fears and the realities of living in the United States in 2023. Although there has been much progress made on behalf of equal rights and justice over the past 50 years, there is still more work to be done.
We gathered to march on behalf of women’s rights, as we have since 2017 when the national Women’s March was founded. Each year on this date, we gather to hear about the state of the union and the challenges America faces in the future. We work to bring together people and organizations who are working towards a greater good and will continue to encourage education, cooperation, organization, and registration for all.
While California recently voted to enshrine the right of reproductive health care in the state constitution, millions of women in this country do not have the same. Many legislators have or are attempting to enact laws to restrict these very personal decisions. California is bearing the brunt of people coming from other states to receive health care services. There is a cost to that that needs to be recognized.
We march to protect our freedoms and to side with the future. Racism and prejudice based on a person’s background, ethnicity, sexual orientation is unfortunately still alive and rearing its ugly head throughout our nation. While the right to marry whomever you choose is legal in many states, twenty-five states have both statutes and constitutional amendments to prevent same sex marriages.
We march for the rights of the disadvantaged and the oppressed and to support working families. With over 33 million Americans living in poverty, not enough attention is being paid to their needs. For a society to be successful, we must find ways to assist the disadvantaged through education, mentoring and compassion.
We march for voter’s rights. Many communities are under attack to limit constituent determination through decreased voting hours, options and other interference. This attack is often from those elected to lead their community.
We also march to help the environment. Human made pollution, whether it be through air, water or land contamination, is making citizens ill, degrading our natural resources and costing us billions of dollars annually in remediation and health care. Society already has many solutions but is lacking the political will to reverse much of the problems we’ve caused.