On January 21, Judkins Park was the staging grounds for one of the largest protest marches ever held in Seattle. Billed as a testament to the power of unity and the rallying cry that love trumps hate, the march attracted women, men, children and seniors from all over the state in response to the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. The participants came by foot, Smart Car, buses and ferries. An estimated 100,000 to 120,000 gathered in the fields behind Washington Middle School most carrying signs and many sporting pink hats which have become a symbol of resistance to the country’s new leader and his widely criticized treatment of women.
The pre-march scene and the march itself were marked by a festive spirit and laudable organization. The four or five speeches before the march, given by women representing the diversity of America, called on the crowd to respect and support the rights of Native Americans, African Americans, immigrants, and Muslims, and the right of all women to control their own reproductive health. The speakers were polished, on point and received with enthusiasm.
Because of the large number of participants, getting out of Judkins Park was no small challenge and the first marchers were well past Westlake Center while thousands still waited to get through the gates and start down Jackson. The route, west on Jackson and north on Fourth Avenue to the Seattle Center, was over 3.5 miles long. Supporters lined rooftops along Jackson crying out “Tell us what democracy looks like” as the marchers shouted back, “This is what democracy looks like!” The occasional “Wave” rolled over the top of the crowd with arms and voices rising together. It was thrilling experience to be part of such a spirited and respectful mass.
The ranks grew in size as the march wound its way through downtown. Some joined in the International District. Ferries brought in thousands and one participant reported that on at least one of the overcrowded Bainbridge boats, the crew announced that the men’s head was open to all. The weather, partly cloudy and in the 50s, was ideal for exercising First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.
According to police reports following the march, there were no “incidents” or arrests. (The only anti-protester we encountered was at the Seattle Center—a young man seeking attention by screaming profanities about Bill Clinton.) At the January 26th East PAC meeting, Lt. Ballingham said the women’s march was one of the best “protests” ever and the sign he liked best was carried by a woman “of a certain age” that read “Now you’ve pissed off Grandma!” Indeed, there was no limit to the creative signs. Some of our favorites included:
I’m with Her (with image Mother Earth
or, in some cases, the Statue of Liberty)
Blink Twice if you need rescuing, Melania
Build Bridges not Walls
Make America Good Again
There Will Be Hell Toupee
And many more which we won’t print in a family newsletter.
Other highlights: the larger-than-life artistic representations of Putin, Trump, Che Guvera, Madame Curie, Rosa Parks and more. The enormous Earth. The female-occupied litter carried by a satanic society, the female brass band at the Seattle Center. And the free Metro shuttle buses at the end of the route that carried folks with tired feet back to where it all started.
On a let’s-be-good-neighbors note, we want to acknowledge that the march took place on the weekend before the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Many merchants—grocery stores in particular--in the Chinatown International District reported a sharp drop in sales over previous years as potential customers could not get through the foot and car traffic. Viet-Wah reported a sales drop of 65%. If you joined the march, consider being a good neighbor and spending a little extra time and money in the CID in the coming weeks.
Author’s note: this article has been fact checked.