Worldwide: March for Science

Danielle Anzures, Staff Writer

Thousands of scientists and supporters of scientific inquiry gathered in Downtown LA April 22 to take part in one of the 600 demonstrations that took place on Earth Day going on around the world, according to the Los Angeles Times. The March for Science Los Angeles goal was to “defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments,” in the words of the organizers. While the main event took place at the National Mall in Washington, there were more than 40 demonstrations going on just in California.

Dr. Diane Brown, a rheumatologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and marcher carried a sign that read, “My patients need science because lupus is not cured, juvenile arthritis is not cured … CANCER is not cured!” Brown said her sign was especially significant to her since two of her patients, one 8 years-old and the other just 4, were diagnosed with cancer last week.

“I have a PhD, I did my time in the lab and I know how hard it is to get the information for each line in a published study,” she said. “That takes hours, months or years, and if we don’t fund it, people will leave labs, and they may never come back.”

While event leaders said their event was not in support of certain parties, it did seem the event had an anti-Trump feel to it, according to Los Angeles Time.

“Not since Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition have science-deniers had such powerful friends,” said Representative Brad Sherman, D-Porter Ranch, before the march began at Pershing Square.

Tom Steyer, president of the environmental advocacy organization NextGen Climate, was even more blunt saying, “There is a force coming out of Washington, D.C. called the Trump administration that is out to deny truth and bury science.”

The Trump Administration has been known to be unfavorable to the science community, just 100 days into the administration there have been proposals for budget cuts in National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. There also been top administration officials who have been open with their doubt that climate change is caused by human activity.

The march began at 11 a.m. at Pershing Square where protesters walked seven blocks from to City Hall. Across from City Hall two dozen Trump supporters gathered in front of L.A. Police Department headquarters to show their support for the president. There were no major altercations or arrests according to police and the groups were mainly peaceful.

Jeniffer Hernandez, a professor and immunologist at the Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy in Claremont, carried a sign written with colors of the Mexican flag that read, “I’m a 1st generation Mexican American scientist, not a murderer, rapist or drug dealer.”

Hernandez, who had never been to a protest before, said she felt attacked by Trump since her parents are immigrants from Mexico, because of the comments he has made about sexually assaulting women, and because her lab is partly funded by federal grants. “I’m outraged. I’m upset,” she said. “We need to be out here.”

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