Eugene Women's March Carries On Despite Low Turnout

Jan 18, 2020

Participants in Eugene's Women's March cross the street during the event on Saturday. Because it was informal and organizers didn't get a permit, streets along the route remained open to regular traffic.
Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News

In 2017, Eugene joined the first national Women’s March in defiant protest of President Trump’s inauguration. It attracted 7,000 marchers. This year around 40 people showed up on Saturday.

It was unclear whether a march would happen this year since organizers hadn’t acquired a permit and the event wasn’t well publicized. But, Michele Nosala said she was determined to show up and added that fatigue may have been a factor in low turnout.

Michele Nosala attended the march with her husband Jonathan Nosala and their dog Elie Ruth Nosala.
Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News

“We’ve gone through 3 years of failures, and setbacks, and let downs, and disappointments, and it just hasn’t gone well and I think people are tired. But that’s no reason to stop, because it can get worse and that’s really a big concern for me,” she said.

Nosala attended Los Angeles’ Women’s March in 2017 where an estimated 750,000 people gathered in protest. She said she was disappointed in this year’s event.

“I’m torn. I know some of my female friends in Eugene [told me] that they didn’t care so much, or didn’t think events like this make a difference,” she said. For Nosala, however, she said she came because she didn't want to normalize Trump's presidency. 

Others suggested this could be a sign the city’s view of activism has changed. Rosa-Diaz said 13 years ago people were more engaged with events like these.

Marchers ended the event with a couple of short speeches on the steps of the Federal Courthouse.
Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News

“I just remember a Eugene that was really political active, social justice was huge. I mean Lane was exploding with political activism,” Rosa-Diaz said. She adds that she supports protests because it shows unity and it’s a chance to express rights.

“Many things are happening in the United States [that] I’m really blown away [by]. So anything that we can do to come together to speak up against oppression is really important,” Rosa-Diaz said.

Despite a smaller crowd, the overall theme remained the same with anti-Trump chants and calls for change as the nation heads into another presidential election year. Other marches took place in Corvallis, Roseburg and Redmond.

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