San Jose without women

Organizers of Women’s March encouraged citizens to take the day off work

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San Jose without women

Jordan Elliott, Times Staff

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“A Day without Women” was held in honor of International Women’s Day in front of City Hall, in downtown San Jose, Wednesday, March 8.

The event was created by the organizers of the Women’s March as a way to recognize the role that women play in the economy, workforce and the world at large. Citizens were encouraged to take the day off from paid and unpaid labor even if they couldn’t attend the rally.

“As the Women’s March, we are really interested in getting millennials and young women involved by going to our website and attending these rallies,” said Vicky Mattson, a volunteer for Women’s March.

Apart from the rally that took place from noon-2 p.m., there were other options to support the cause without actually taking the day off work.

Some students were skeptical about how many could actually participate in this event if they couldn’t take off work, however, “…if you’re not able to get there, there are other ways to support it” said Jammaar Hall, 27, psychology.

The Women’s March organization suggested that wearing the color red, not shopping at all, or only shopping at minority and female owned businesses were also viable options.

“I’m very happy I came. The energy of the people speaking… it’s great. I’ve come away feeling like things are better than they were,” said Liz Chell, a participant at the rally.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, the president of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon, and a group of children with the Rise Up Program from Downtown College Prep.

“I think at this point in time, in society, the fact that we have a president who shows such disrespect for women, even his wife… It’s affecting our children and generations to come,” said guest speaker Aileen Casanave.

Organizers said the purpose of the event was to peacefully support the rights of women, productive and immigrant rights, and equal pay.

According to the Women’s Strike website,, they intended to observe March 8 in a creative way that would unify all while not supporting corporations deemed harmful.

“We can stand in solidarity with women, and as Muslim women, we are going to fight the double-edged sword of imperialism,” said Jana Kadah, a rally participant.

Kadah came to the rally with a group who held signs and posed for photos. Bonnie Laster, a retired teacher and volunteer at an elementary school attended the rally and met Carol Lamont, a fellow strike supporter.

Lamont said she was inspired by the event’s turnout. “…we have to come together more and more,” said Lamont, “Standing together makes us stronger.”

“We must unite the women of the world and unite the good men, like my husband, for our cause,” said Laster.

Liccardo made an appearance on the podium and delivered a speech to the remaining partakers.

“I just want to say how wonderful it is to see a sea of red out here and thank you so much for speaking out on behalf of all of us who know that what’s happening in Washington today is not our future,” Liccardo said.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, females compromise 28 percent of managers worldwide. Even in the Silicon Valley’s tech industry, women are underrepresented and make up 32 percent of the 125,000 Apple employees.

“I’m thankful for the speakers of color, women of different colors, different religions and backgrounds,” said Jayden Lee, a rally participant who attended with Rise Up for Justice. “One of the positives, if I can even say this, of Trump, is seeing marginalized people coming together. There are more coalitions forming.”

The rally was spread across the Bay Area, including San Francisco City Hall and Justin Herman Plaza, Cal’s Sproul Plaza in Berkeley and the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland.

“It’s important that the silent million in the middle are heard by the community, said Liccardo. “It’s important that those targeted by xenophobia and hatred know they’re not alone.”