Thousands of people are expected to rally together in cities around the world Saturday for an encore women’s march — and Burbank is no exception.
About 400 people have already signed up to march down the Chandler Bike Path as a sign of solidarity to continue advocating for women’s rights, said Joanna Peresie, a Burbank resident who is helping coordinate the local protest.
Peresie said last year’s event, which was organized by residents Ashley Gogerty, Sylvia Hendershott and Rhiannon Hansen Clark, had several hundred people participate on just a few days’ notice.
When she heard a second national women’s march would be held this year, Peresie took to social media to see if her neighbors were interested in having another march in Burbank, and so far the event on Saturday looks like it will be larger than the one last year.
“It was a really moving experience for everyone that was involved, myself included,” Peresie said about last year’s march. “Last year, my daughter was home sick, and she couldn’t make it, but it was nice to know that all of these people weren’t just marching for themselves, but they were marching for my daughter and their daughters.”
Since the women’s march last year, the world has seen the start and rapid growth of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which call for accountability for sexual harassment and misconduct.
Peresie said exposure of these topics has empowered women to come forward.
“Before, we weren’t really in a climate where people felt comfortable sharing those stories,” she said. “They kept victims silent, which isn’t helpful to anybody moving forward.”
For her, personally, Peresie, who has a 16-year old son and a 12-year-old daughter, would like to see more focus on Title IX, which bars discrimination in education on the basis of sex, and the degree to which sexual assault has a negative affect on equal access.
“It seems as though there’s no standard as far as reporting the statistics [of sexual assaults on campuses] to parents,” Peresie said. “When we are shopping for colleges for our kids, it’s up to the college to share that information, and that’s not really protecting our daughters or doing our sons any favors.”
Peresie said she hopes Saturday’s march will continue to be a productive and empowering event for those participating.
“I’m not interested in a lot of finger-pointing or negativity,” she said. “I really hope that it’s a positive sign for our young daughters, but also for our sons, to show them that the women in their community have value.”