The photo above is from the Women's March on Washington in the nation's capital, which took place on January 21st on the other side of the country at the same time that I was marching in Seattle. Taken by Kevin Mazur, it's one of those "right time, right place" photos that leaves you in awe. It's amazing. I noticed several powerful Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia signs during our march, but the composition of the two separate signs makes this one of the best photos I've seen from the marches.
Seattle's version of the march started at Judkins Park and finished 3.5 miles away at the Seattle Center. Since Judkins is relatively close to my office in the International District, I drove to our parking garage with my mom and her friends, discussing Trump on the way. I planned to meet some of my friends (Lydia, Eric, Lynn and Tim) on the way to the park at a nearby p-patch. That plan worked out well, because cellphones really didn't work due to the sheer number of people converging, and it would have been next to impossible to find each other otherwise. (Somehow, some way, Anna still managed to find us more than two hours later!) I didn't have time to make a sign beforehand, but my mom handed me an extra one when she walked on ahead. I had never been to Judkins Park, and thank goodness it's large, because the turnout exceeded everyone's expectations. The organizers had estimated about 50,000 people would attend, but the total came out closer to 175,000. Incredible.
Directions and guest speakers began around 10:30am, and the march officially got underway just after 11am. But, because of the huge concentration of people, for most of us that didn't mean much. I think it took over an hour to move about 75 yards. Around that time, they got on the speakers and said that the front of the march was three blocks from the Seattle Center, and yet there were still people in the park. That meant the crowd filled the entire route from start to finish! Amazing! Our pace picked up around 1pm once we were farther along on 20th Avenue, but not much. It really wasn't until we got to 4th Avenue that the crowd got less congested, and I finally had the arm space to hold my sign out. We made a small detour to Pioneer Square to grab a snack and headed back into the crowd soon after. It was 3:30pm by the time we finally made it to the Space Needle and took some victory photos. Since so many people had already come and gone by that point, it didn't seem like there was really an end event anymore and we split ways. My mom and her group were at Nordstrom Cafe eating pizza (they got too hungry to finish the march), so I met them there and then we all walked back to the International District. According to a map I made on Strava, I walked 7.2 miles in total. Needless to say, I was exhausted afterwards, and I think I went to bed at 9:30pm.
Since the unexpected outcome of the election, many have criticized Seattle and other areas with a high concentration of liberals as being influenced by their Blue Bubbles. They say that the people within them are sheltered from the "real" America, the working class America. Maybe there is some validity to that, but based on yesterday, the opposite certainly felt true. I couldn't believe the differences between all of the people who came together! Sure, most of those in attendance were women, and that was the whole point, but probably a third of the crowd was supportive men. I saw Americans of all colors and shapes. I saw Christians, Muslims, Jews and atheists. I saw straight people walking side-by-side with their LGBTQ neighbors. I saw families with children who didn't cry or complain. I saw people in wheelchairs and on crutches. What I didn't see was a a single act of violence. In fact, I didn't even hear so much as an angry voice. I don't think you could say half of those things about Trump rallies during the election season, but that Seattleites came together so completely made me proud of my city.
This was an incredible experience, and one that I'm so glad I decided to participate in. Though I only marched with a half dozen friends, I know several more who also attended, along with others in marches across the country: Mariana in St. Petersburg and Capri in Los Angeles. For many people, myself included, this was their first march or protest. I can only hope this sense of solidarity continues for these next four years, because it's going to be necessary. But if the size and scope of this movement is any indication, there are a whole lot of nasty women out there who will not be silenced.
So yes, she's watching you, Donald. And she is all of us.