March for Science draws over 3,000 participants

Over 3,000 Phoenix residents gathered together for the March for Science on Saturday. (Sayo Akao/DD)

Over 3,000 Phoenix residents gathered together for the March for Science on Saturday.

The march was one of many across the nation. It also took place in cities such as Tucson, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. In addition to the march there were speakers, food trucks, booths and interactive experiments.

According to the event website, the mission of the march was “to call attention to the importance of science in our everyday lives and the need for greater science literacy of the public and elected officials.”

The actual march was prefaced by a rally in front of Phoenix City Hall at 10 a.m. with various speakers who emphasized science’s role in everyday life and the future.

“Politicians have waged war on science and it’s time for us to fight back,” Joe Downs, treasurer for the Maricopa County Democratic Party, said.

Downs emphasized the necessity of every resident working together to make change.

“Time for change is now,” he said. “You and I need to be that change.”

Deedra Abbound, a civil rights advocate who is currently running for the US Senate, also attended the march.

“We are fighters, we are innovators, we are changemakers,” Abbound said. “We know that Earth Day and any other day, it is up to us, every single one of us, to protect the finite and limited resources that our environment so preciously provides us.”

Abbound ended with a cry of “When we unite we rise!” which was echoed by the crowd.

Taylor Scarpelli, who was working a booth for Trees Matter, noted unity and community representation as well.

“I’m really surprised at the amount of people who came out,” she said. “We have this social norm of only older people caring about science and politics and I think it’s exciting to see younger people out here too.”

The march began on Jefferson Street and ended at the corner of Washington Street and First Avenue where food trucks and booths awaited marchers. Phoenix police estimated attendance numbers at over 3,000 people.

Christina Kessler marched with a stroller in one hand and a sign detailing the timeline of climate change in the other. Kessler said she came to march because she feels the Environmental Protection Agency is important and is hopeful for it to stay intact.

Karen Pasi marched with three signs in hand, one of them detailed with the statement “I’m with her” pointing at a drawing of Earth. Pasi said she was ecstatic about the turnout of the march and hoped it would bring more awareness on climate change.

Caroline Winstead, who has been working for over 20 years as an environmental consultant, echoed that thought on climate change.

“Science has given us a platform to maintain and sustain our planet for our future generations,” she said.

Gabriel Montaño, who has served as the president of the Society Advancing Chicanos/Hispanic and Native Americans in Science, said that beginning a conversation about change in science is difficult because science has been historically exclusive and advised people to make science more inclusive to everyone, even those who are skeptics.

“The march for science is an opportunity for us to begin that dialogue and open up that invitation,” he said. “We have an opportunity today and moving forward to not only bring attention to the impact and importance of science in our lives but to improve the scientific community.”

Montaño continued telling the crowd that science and scientific inquiry belong to everybody.

“In large part that’s what these gathering and marches across the country are. A reminder that simply put, science is needed and science is good,” Montaño said.

Contact the reporter at oakao@asu.edu.