There is a notable difference between the Women’s March San Francisco and virtually every other Women’s March taking place across the country on Saturday. Every other Women's March starts on Saturday morning (e.g., the Women’s March Oakland begins at 10 a.m. at Madison Park, the Women’s March San Jose begins at 10 a.m. at Cesar Chavez Plaza, and the big flagship Women’s March on Washington begins at 10 a.m. ET in the nation’s capital). But the Women’s March San Francisco has the curiously late afternoon start time of 3 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Plaza.
This is not a time accommodation to help you attend two Bay Area Women’s Marches in the same day. (Though you totally could!) This is a time accommodation because the Walk for Life West Coast, the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade anti-abortion march that they’ve been putting on for years, had reserved Civic Center Plaza and Market Street for their Saturday proceedings months ago.
“We’ve been here for 13 years walking to give a voice to the fact that abortion hurts women,” Walk for Life co-chair Eva Muntean told SFist. “We welcome everyone to come and hear our speakers and join us in speaking up for women.”
The Walk for Life begins Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. rally at Civic Center, followed by a march down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza. The Women’s March San Francisco begins Saturday with a 3 p.m. rally at Civic Center, followed by — you guessed it — a march down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza.
The irony (and risk) of both marches being on the same day and using the same route is not lost on the Women’s March San Francisco. “We have been working with their organizers to facilitate the back-to-back nature of our events to ensure a peaceful and smooth transition of the space,” Women’s March San Francisco organizer Martha Shaughnessy said in a statement to SFist. “Both marches have been working closely with the city to ensure safety.”
Women’s March organizers also insist that theirs is not specifically an anti-Trump demonstration, and more just a show of solidarity. “It is a peaceful event.,” Shaughnessy’s statement said. “We ask everyone participating for civility and respect in regard to the very different views marchers have on women’s rights to make their own reproductive decisions.”
The Walk for Life has traditionally drawn as many as 50,000 attendees. The Women’s March San Francisco has 36,000 people marked as Going and another 45,000 people marked as Interested on its Facebook invite.
People, let’s be careful out there.