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This is what democracy looks like: SLO celebrates International Women’s Day

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By Lizzy West

A sea of women in red flooded the streets of San Luis Obispo for the A Day Without a Woman march.

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, with hundreds of women and a handful of men marching to remember the women who came before them and to bring attention to the lack of gender equality still present internationally.

Marchers began at Meadow Park at 10:30 a.m. and made their way to Mission Plaza. Once there, they stopped for a moment of silence “to think about the people who came before us and who will come after us. … we all make a difference and we all need equality,” said one speaker.

Marchers wore red in solidarity, and carried signs explaining why they were marching.

“I’m marching for kindness,” said Jane Lloyd, a local activist from Cambria. “We need to bring kindness into the dialogue, reach out to people. This is about getting along together.”

Many in the crowd were aiming to make this march more inclusive to women of all walks of life. One of chants sang, “What do we want? Intersectional feminism! When do we want it? Yesterday!”

Intersectional feminism aims to include women of color, trans women, women of different religions and of different ages.

“I’m marching because this sh*t matters!” said Eliane Neilson, a second year Cuesta College student. Neilson hopes that the march will bring “more emphasis on intersectional feminism.”

During the march, there were some disagreements between marchers over whether it was as inclusive as it should’ve been. One marcher held up a sign reading All Lives Matter and was met with disapproval from others. Some began chanting “Black Lives Matter” until one member from the Black Lives Matter group went over to explain why they found her sign to be offensive.

“I like peaceful communication,” said Dr. Belinda Morrill, a Gender Studies professor at Cuesta College. “I think it’s important to be civil […] Of course all lives matter. But some people have consistently been told their lives don’t matter and we need to stand up for them.”