Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on January 7th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 45

Second annual women's march in Santa Maria wants to ensure everybody's voices are heard


Audy Macdonald doesn’t want people to get caught up in the idea that the upcoming second annual Women’s March Santa Maria Valley is strictly for women. 

The second annual Women’s March Santa Maria Valley takes place on Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. starting in Minami Park.

Yes, the committee organizing the event has invited some organizations that primarily serve women, like Planned Parenthood, but the committee has also invited groups involved in a variety of issues, such as Los Padres ForestWatch, Central Coast Labor Coalition, and the local NAACP chapter.

“While it is for women, it’s also for everybody because women are involved in everything,” Macdonald said. 

The event takes place at Minami Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 18. At 11 a.m., attendees will leave the park and march east on Enos Drive until Broadway. From there, marchers will move north on Broadway, then west on Stowell Road, and then south on Depot Street until arriving back at the park. Most of the marching will take place on sidewalks, except for the section on Depot Street, which police officers will shut down for the march, Macdonald said.

After arriving back at the park, there will be a resource fair where local nonprofits and other organizations will set up information booths for attendees to peruse. Additionally, invited guest speakers will talk about local and national issues affecting the community. Speakers include U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino, and Santa Maria City Councilmember Gloria Soto.

Soto said she plans to focus her speech on critical local and national issues and the need to fight for solutions, especially during a consequential election year. 

“We are living in some of the toughest times in history, I feel,” Soto said. “When you’re talking about family separation, when you’re talking about the crisis at the border, the wildfires in Australia from climate change.”

The march is taking place on the same day as thousands of similar events throughout the country, each with a unique theme. In Santa Maria, the theme this year is “Because we refuse to be silenced.” Macdonald said the march is all about raising the voices of people who are often marginalized. 

“We want to stand up and be a voice for women’s rights, reproductive rights, farmworker rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ-plus rights,” Macdonald said.

Last year, about 300 to 500 people attended the first Women’s March Santa Maria Valley. Macdonald said that this year the organizers behind the march have focused on using social media and press releases to try to spread word about the event and increase turnout. 

Macdonald said it was the march committee’s intention to make this an annual event. Macdonald, Juliana Neel, Pam Gates, and Kathy Sharum make up the executive committee. But other people have also attended weekly meetings over the past two months and have committed a lot of time and energy into making the march a reality. 

Macdonald hopes that this event serves as a way for people with different perspectives to meet and talk—and to show there are human faces behind much of the rhetoric over immigration and other issues.

“I think that’s how change happens,” Macdonald said. “It’s a one-on-one conversation or just seeing that people are normal, they’re humans.”


• The Santa Barbara County Trails Council is holding a public workshop to solicit input on its Santa Barbara County Interim California Coastal Trail Study on Jan. 15 in Buellton. The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments contracted with the trails council to conduct this study, and a rough draft will be released following the meeting. Visit for more information.

• On Jan. 6, the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center in Santa Maria was inducted into the National Safe Places Network. The city’s “safe place” initiative is part of a national network of programs where organizations display “safe place” signs, identifying them as locations available to help youth in need. The center is located at 600 S. McClelland St. 

Staff Writer Zac Ezzone wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send story tips to

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