Paty Ruiz Ortega: Experiencing LA’s Women’s March

Paty Ruiz-Ortega is a first year nursing major at UCI. She considers herself a feminist and activist, and she attended this year’s Women’s March in LA for the first time. Here’s a little bit about Paty and her experience:

 

In your own words, what was the purpose of the Women’s March?

I believe the purpose of the Women’s March was just to unify a large group of people from different backgrounds and diversities, just a group a group of different people where we can all get into one place and speak out about what we believe in, what we believe we should change. It’s just to be able to have a safe place to speak about our beliefs.

What are some interesting facts you can tell us about the Women’s March?

I expected it to be a lot more crowded. I mean there was a significant amount of people but there was space to move around and you didn’t feel like you were being suffocated. There were also a plenty of children, actually. I saw a ton of children holding up signs, like there was one girl on top of a bus station stop and she held a sign that said something about bringing people together, and another girl that kept yelling “Impeach Trump.”

How many times have you done the Women’s March?

This was actually my first time.

What was the reason you went to the Women’s March?

I personally went to the Women’s March because I think it’s important to participate in discourse and important topics such as immigration reform, like especially what’s going on with DACA and the presidency in general, it’s jeopardizing the entire country. The fact that I’m here being able to speak out on those issues when there are people that are stuck in those circumstances that do not allow them to be in the same position, I want to be representative of those people.

Describe a little bit of your experience while you were there.

We got there around 10:30 AM and we joined in, and everyone was just marching. It was pretty silent and, like, I expected people to be yelling because I’ve seen videos of last year’s Women’s March, but it was literally just a peaceful protest. I don’t know how else to describe it. And there were plenty of guest speakers.  I got to see Constance Wu who I thought was really cool, and she’s actually super vocal about these topics. I didn’t expect her to be so vocal. Also, they had Indina Menzel, and she sang the song that she sang for the Hillary Clinton campaign. There was also the LA gay men’s chorus, and that was so cool. There was also this person there who made a giant head of Donald Trump, and it looked like a pig. I was like, ‘That’s dedication.’

What was the most memorable/inspiring thing you heard while you were there?

I really liked Viola Davis’ speech. It was the most recognized throughout the news. She was speaking about how we all have to be unified and not just yell about everything, but actually show our support through our actions. There were a bunch of other guest speakers who spoke out about their experiences with the “Me Too” movement and I thought that was really powerful and vulnerable of them to be able to speak upon those issues without any hesitation whatsoever. You don’t usually hear those types of first-hand accounts but in this instance they were able to show that vulnerability and not hold back anything.

What were some of your favorite signs?

There was one that said “Sh*t-hole” and it was a picture of Donald Trump’s mouth. That one was funny. There was also a painting of the Statue of Liberty with her hands covering her eyes. Oh, and then there was one that said “F*ck white supremacy.”

 

 

What kinds of people did you meet?

I met people from all types of backgrounds and ethnicities, so much diversity. I’ve never seen that much diversity in one place. It was really cool, I really liked seeing all the children with signs and stuff.

What does feminism mean to you?

It means you’re not just speaking about the topic, but you’re actually doing something about it. Like you’re going to these marches, participating, and informing other people of what feminism is, what it means to you, and why it should be important to others. I feel like people often perceive it as [an argument that] women should not be inferior to men, because we think men hold all the power in the patriarchal system, but it’s so much more than that. It’s just being able to not have discrimination toward either sex, you have to focus on the positive side too.

Why are women important?

Okay, this is a really hard question because there’s so much you can say. I think women are important just because if we didn’t have women, we wouldn’t grow in our perspective, especially in our society right now. Women have such a different view on certain topics than men. For example, let’s say a woman is walking around at night, she doesn’t necessarily feel as safe as she would with a male friend or just to be a male instead. Being able to gain that perspective and just the fact that women add so much to this world, you wouldn’t be able to get the same if there were just one gender, you have to gain a lot more perspective through those experiences.

What does it mean to be a woman in 2018?

To be a woman, I feel, has evolved. I’m hoping 2018 has a more positive perspective on women and I feel like it has evolved, especially with the recognition of the “Me Too” movement and people speaking out against sexual assault, especially with the case against the USA Gymnastics Coach. I feel like that was extremely powerful, those women being able to speak out on their experiences. It’s being able to speak about those issues without receiving the same criticism as previous years, creating this safe space where women don’t necessarily feel that they have to hide their emotions, and not speak out about these topics when it’s totally okay to speak out about them.

Who are some women that inspire you and why?

I would definitely say my grandmother is a huge inspiration. She passed away two years ago, but what I took away from that is just the fact that she was always a hard worker. My mom told me about an experience she had when she was younger, actually. She would tell me that most of the time they couldn’t even afford food, and my grandmother was able to stand tall and to be able to provide for her family so much for so many years. It was a tiny house that they lived in, and they lived in it for so many years, but the fact that she was able to provide for her family and not be ashamed of who she was… she was just being herself. I would also definitely say my mom. Just, she was able to come from those circumstances and get to where she is today. She’s actually an IT manager for her company. She told me how she’d have to take two buses to school everyday and she’d stay there for most of the day most of the time. She’d be studying and wouldn’t even have time to hang out, but she didn’t mind because that was her goal, to be able to provide for her future family and not have them worry about the same things she had to worry about growing up.

 

Rapid fire:

Favorite color?

Lilac.

Favorite animal?

Dolphin.

What are you craving right now?

Korean BBQ.

Sweet or salty?

Sweet.

Favorite actor?

Mark Ruffalo.

Favorite movie?

13 going on 30.

Favorite actress?

Gina Rodriguez

Dogs or cats?

Dogs.

What song is stuck in your head right now?

After the Storm by Kali Uchis.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Peru.

What’s a random fact about you?  

I ran a half marathon in 2016.

 

 

Be sure to look out for next year’s Women’s March in Los Angeles!