Saturday, June 11 2011, SlutWalk San Diego held its first rally as a large group gathered in the middle of Civic Center Plaza. By 1:30 pm, there was a crowd of about 150. People were assembling in the shade of the large trees in the Plaza. According to Frank’s headcount, by 2:00 it was up to 350 with people still streaming in.
The crowd was very diverse and included women, men, families, young, old and in between. Although, in contrast to many of the events we attend, a very large percentage of the people here were young, in their teens and twenties. It was also good to see that about 20% of the crowd were men. I overheard a conversation between one young woman and our own Anna Daniels about views on the term “feminist” and am looking forward to a post on that, nudge, nudge…
A little after 2:00 the organizers climbed onto the ledge of the fountain, grabbed their bullhorn and welcomed the crowd, “Hello all sluts! Welcome to SlutWalk San Diego!” and were greeted by an enthusiastic round of cheers from the group. Among the speakers were Ikoi Hiroe, an Asian-American artist with the group “So Say We All”; Echo Zen, with “Voices for Planned Parenthood”; Rebecca Trichel, Pamela Doble and Anastasia Shevchenko (who wrote a great slam poem), all SlutWalk San Diego organizers. All the speakers at yesterday’s rally were passionate and many times drew the response of “BULLSHIT!” from the crowd as they recounted their experiences with sexual assault and victim blaming.
Soon the group streamed out of the plaza onto Second Ave and walked to Broadway. The published map outlined the walk to Horton Plaza Park, then back to the Plaza, but as the marchers came down Broadway they flooded into the street and continued past the park, detouring from the original route and chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” Once we turned down B Street with the plaza in view, the leading contingent of the marchers detoured again as police and event marshals tried hold the rest of the group on B Street. Some folks broke away and continued the march with the leaders. The two groups then converged to block the entire intersection east of the Plaza.
Chanting, “No matter where we go, no matter how we dress, no means no and yes means yes!” we flooded back in the plaza, feeling triumphant. The atmosphere was charged as we gathered to listen to more speakers and share in the feelings of camaraderie. Near the end, a large contingent of bicyclists swooped in and joined us. Frank counted about 30 of them. We heard them called “Naked Bikers”, and “the Bareback Riders.” None were naked, but some women were topless and had painted their breasts. Just before the bicyclists turned around and rode out of the Plaza, several cops seemed to be converging on them, looking for an arrest, although none occurred.
All in all, it was an event like I have never experienced and I am proud of everyone who attended and especially of those who organized SlutWalk San Diego! And thanks to Frank who provided me with great notes and many terrific photos!
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