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San Diego Women's March Expected To Draw Thousands Saturday

January 17, 2019 2:38 p.m.

Guest:, Frances Carillo, chief financial officer, Women’s March San Diego

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Related Story: San Diego Women's March Expected To Draw Thousands Saturday


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

On the heels of Donald Trump's presidential election. Women across the world came together and marched through the streets of major cities and even some small towns. Their unified voice exclaimed women's rights are human rights. The call was for equality. In recent months that voice hasn't been so unified as the national organization has splintered due to conflicting views still come Saturday. The Women's March will go on here in San Diego 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Waterfront Park Frances Carillo is the chief financial officer of women's march San Diego. Francis welcome.

Thank you. The Women's March happens this weekend. What issues are you highlighting this year.

Well I think this year we're really looking at the local San Diego issues so immigration is a high top priority for us. Over the last year we've done a lot to help with the rallies at bridges not walls. The families belong together and we're very concerned about the upcoming changes and things that are happening at the border and I know many of the issues can't be solved with one march but how much success have you found with previous marches. I think what's the biggest success for us is that women over the last year especially at the midterms we were focused on really came up stepped up ran for office and won.

And I think we're going to see a lot of that change coming through as a step into place in offices that we're very proud of.

Getting those women excited and energized to step up and we know the women's march splintered and fell under scrutiny when some of the founders attended a speech that the nation of Islam's Lewis Farrakhan gave where he's on record making anti-semitic and out anti LGBTQ remarks. How is the organization handling the criticism.

Well that's really a national issue and what we've seen as we've actually made a statement to make sure San Diego understands that our local chapter does not follow or are is really connected to what they call themselves national. We made a statement against all that hate speech. We do not support it and we are really focused on our local issues and what we do at the grassroots level.

And so you've said that the local organization here has in many ways distanced itself from the national organization.

We actually are part of a California Coalition. It's a women's march in California and there's about 13 chapters in California. We actually do work together we fund. Together we go to. We cover issues together so unlike the national there's no relationship as we work more with California and how do you handle reaching out to groups and organizations whose ideologies don't align with the women's march.

Do you feel you have to in order to push the movement forward. No I think we really like to focus on our unity for.

Principles. It's really about issues that affect women and what we can really addressed at the local level we know where grassroots rolling only a few years old. So we are still struggling with some of the issues that we can and cannot approach and we just have to be realistic. What's our priorities for this community.

So do you think that the controversy nationally weakens the efforts of the women's march here locally.

I think it had an effect initially. You definitely had a lot of people hesitancy to speak or to be part of that effort. A lot of questions but fortunately we've had a lot of good conversations with everyone and we haven't had any major fall back from their efforts. But we continue to have to fight the issue and explain ourselves. But we're a very strong unit as far as making sure our statements clear and keeping that communication line open with those who are questioning.

Do you think that that controversy weakens the women's march and their effort to be an intersectional movement.

I yes it does. I mean obviously it does because of what we're all fighting for the injustices against all people. And unfortunately because of the statements that have been made and reportedly made it will of course affect that. So it's important for each local chapter to stand up and represent what they really are standing behind.

And would you characterize this annual march and the movement as a feminist movement or is it much bigger than that even.

I would say it's bigger than that famous Moons Over the history or very particular to their cause and unique and have done amazing things. But I think because under the umbrella of women's march it allows us to be more open to the issues that we can bring into our fold into really address. And it's really about anything that affects women families our allies and it's not just about women's rights although it's it's a huge piece of it. But there are other issues.

Organizers of the women's march up in Eureka canceled the event saying there wasn't enough participation from black women. Is the Women's March working to ensure the unique issues of minority women who often feel ignored in this movement are being heard and addressed.

Locally we are doing our best to keep our table open and we've invited people to come to our table in fact I would say that that's probably an issue moving forward after this march that we are going to be inviting more people to the table. It has been always a criticism that we need more minorities at the table. We have a diverse team. But we do need more. We've had some black women sitting at our table but we do not have any currently. And we hope through our conversations with women that we're having right now before this march that some doors will be opened and we can build some bridges.

But it's definitely a priority for 2019.

You've had a lot of conversation so I want to circle back and talk about the unique issues that are specific to women here in San Diego.

Tell me more about that. Well specifically for women here we're looking at immigration families in immigration criminal justice issues. I think those two are the ones that we want to delve deeper into and and honestly we're not the experts we will be rely a lot on the communities that we partner with and hopefully we can help amplify their voices because they're the experts and what are some of the criminal justice issues that you guys are wanting to highlight. Well we're just talking. We just have Tasha Williams Williamson's going to be a speaker.

So we are just opening that door with her to look at the programs that she's with which is the compassion project and building justice. So we're hoping to find out how we can help them.

All right. And it's one thing to attend a march but what other ways do you hope people will raise their voices to really draw attention to and find solutions for the issues you know that is one thing right.

You attend a march. We have tens of thousand of people who attend in our next step is how do we get them engaged. How do we get them now into these other organizations that really need them to help amplify their voices. Engagement is always an issue for an or any organization. But we have you know 18000 followers. And that's going to be a tough call and part of it is bringing those people to the table to discuss ways to utilize that we call digital currency. We have that. So we we have to figure that out.

I've been speaking with Frances Carillo CFO of women's march San Diego which will take place this Saturday. You can find a link with details on our Web site KP B.S. dot org. Francis thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.