San Mateo crowd gathers for Women’s March sister rally

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Tomoki Chien

A protester honors the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At today’s rally in San Mateo, many held picket signs denouncing Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett.

In a relatively calm protest of about 100 people, The Raging Grannies held a sister rally to the National Women’s March today at 3 p.m. The San Mateo crowd denounced Donald Trump and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, while also standing for women’s rights, the Affordable Care Act, voters’ rights, the freedom of speech, racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

“We have suffered through this season of crises,” Raging Granny Ruth Robertson said. “We have had enough; we are rising up to shift our future, and we welcome all women who share that vision. Trump has emboldened right-wing militia groups, and it’s almost as if he’s implicitly given them permission to take whatever action they want to.

Throughout the largely white and female adult crowd, many protesters held signs encouraging passersby on El Camino Real to vote, as well as signs honoring the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“When it comes to BLM, we’re trying really hard to listen and learn and not speak for people whose experiences that we don’t share, but to be allies,” Robertson said. “We want to be there for them, and we want to point out that women — particularly Black women, Hispanic women and Pacific Islander women — have a really heavy burden.” 

About a quarter of the way through, dancer Sharat Lin donned a monarch butterfly costume and performed the interpretive “dance of peace.” 

Lin, who first started performing the dance with a group of friends in 2008, said that they originally danced on street corners and at farmers markets, even getting invited to museums. Now, in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, Lin and his group have been attending and performing at protests throughout the Bay Area.

“We started doing the dance to put joy and happiness in the world,” Lin said. “When you come to rallies, people don’t want to just hear a bunch of speeches for an hour. So it’s good to have some performers — it’s just part of making it more fun for people.”

Robertson said that under normal circumstances the Grannies would’ve sung, but that was scrapped in favor of Lin’s dance due to the pandemic. The Grannies also consulted with a nurse who “specializes in safe gatherings” before hosting the event, implementing safety measures such as disinfecting the microphone as it was passed to different speakers.

“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to come out here when I looked at the temperature,” Robertson said when asked why she came out to protest today. “But if I don’t rage for a couple of weeks I’m feeling like I need to get out there and be visible and be a presence.”