Rep. Katie Hill rallies for equal representation at LA Women’s MarchRyan Painter January 22, 2019 0 COMMENTS
LOS ANGELES — Rep. Katie Hill (D-Agua Dulce) delivered two short speeches on Saturday morning at the Women’s March Los Angeles in Downtown, exhorting participants to begin to mobilize for the 2020 elections and advocating for greater female representation in federal and local politics.
Hill spoke first at a volunteer breakfast hosted by United Way of Los Angeles in the lobby of their downtown office, where she was joined by a litany of democratic activists and Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) in extolling the virtue of a greater female contingency in Congress.
“I’ve been coming here (to United Way) so many times for so many years with the work on poverty and homelessness, and that mission is so connected to the work that we’re doing in Washington,” she said before a crowd of roughly 75 Women’s March participants. “When you elect women, women bring this mission-driven approach to how we lead. I think that that’s something that I always found remarkable, when we’re talking about the reasons that people run for office.”
Hill posited that female candidates often have a more altruistic motive in seeking office than their male counterparts, citing a survey conducted on past versions of Congress—which she said has not yet been given to the 116th Congress.
“There is a survey of people in Congress…where they asked men why they ran for office and women, and women said over and over that it was because they wanted to help their communities because they saw problems like poverty and homelessness and the lack of healthcare, lack of equal pay, elevating voices that have currently been silenced for too long and that was their mission,” she said. “But then they asked men why they wanted to serve in Congress, and most of them said because they always wanted to be a politician.”
Much of the incumbent Congress, she claimed — which features one of the largest and most diverse freshman classes in the 229-year history of the body — shares this agenda-driven approach. In November, Hill was elected co-representative of the freshman class to Democratic leadership, a junior leadership position which she shares with Reps. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas).
After concluding her speech, Hill drove eight blocks north up Olive St. to Pershing Square, the central-Downtown plaza where the rally began. Thousands of protestors streamed into the condensed space, holding homemade signs and wearing clothing replete with feminist slogans, all vying for a chance to get as close to the main stage as possible.
Following an address from civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, Hill took the stage, speaking to the mosaic of protesters from a podium silhouetted against a backdrop of glass skyscrapers.
“I’m here to tell you that the work that you did last year got the most historic, most diverse, most women ever elected to Congress,” she said. “But…still, that means women only make up one-in-four members of Congress, and when you look at each side of the aisle you can see the difference in the diversity we got.”
The congresswoman told the crowd, which had begun to spill out onto Hill and 6th Sts, that they would need to continue to take action should they wish to see similar results in the upcoming 2020 elections.
“We’ve taken a little break but it’s time to get back to work,” she said. “Because you see what’s happening in Washington, we can’t move forward on getting affordable healthcare for everyone unless we start to work again. So we need you to show up.
“The activism has just started, get back to work, it’s time for 2020 to watch out for us because we’re coming again,” she said, concluding her 75-second speech.
From Pershing Square, Hill marched five more blocks north to Grand Park, just outfront Los Angeles City Hall, where the rally continued and where other elected officials, like Mayor Eric Garcetti, were set to speak.
Saturday’s event was the third iteration of the Women’s March, which was founded by Women’s March, Inc. in 2017 following the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump. While the movement is centered in Washington D.C., many of the country’s largest cities played host to their own affiliate marches.
This year, though, Women’s March Inc. has been mired in controversy after several of its founders have refused to denounce their associations with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam minister who has a history of making anti-semitic comments. Key Women’s March sponsors, like the Democratic National Committee, dropped their sponsorship of the event.
However, Women’s March Los Angeles confirmed on its website that it is a separate entity from Women’s March, Inc. and chastised the organization, saying “statements about Jewish, queer and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles.”
Hill’s speeches focused mainly on the political, steering clear of some of the movement’s disagreements on social issues.
“I truly believe that we can never have true equality until we have equal representation, so let’s get to work,” Hill said.
Ryan Painter covers government and politics for The Proclaimer. He has worked at the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, the Daily Trojan and as a campaign staffer during 2018 midterm elections. A 2016 West Ranch graduate, Ryan studies Political Science and International Relations at USC. Find him on Twitter @ryan_pintor.