Seattle, WA– The largest mass protest in US history began the morning after Inauguration Day in cities all across the nation.
Here in Seattle attendance was 175,000 strong, and at its height formed a continuous procession of protesters the entire distance from Judkins Park to Seattle Center.
American flags waved proudly amongst protest poster boards held aloft with equal patriotic zeal. The turnout demolished early predictions, and dwarfed the controversial inauguration itself. Much to everyone’s pleasant surprise, even the sun came out in solidarity on this Seattle winter’s day.
For those of you who couldn’t be there, gather ’round and lemme tell ya about taking a solidarity hike at the historic Seattle Womxn’s March…
We arrived about a half hour early for the morning gathering and even by then Judkins Park was bursting at the seams.
Loudspeakers broadcasted a disembodied series of speeches across the park. From where I was, I could neither determine the source nor decipher the messages, but the enthusiastic cheers of the morning mob probably meant it was good.
Before long the whole mass began to shudder and shift like a pink dusted glacier breaking off into the sea.
WEST ON JACKSON
Initially the march resembled one of Seattle’s famous traffic jams but the crowd gained strong momentum down Jackson Street’s wide lanes.
Little Saigon made a unique backdrop to snap a few pics of the swelling ranks against it’s vibrantly painted buildings and Vietnamese script placards and signs.
It was also a great place to break from the pack to buy some fresh fruit at a local market, Viet Wah. Their parking lot provided a fantastic vantage point to have a snack and absorb the historic event unfolding before our eyes.
Energy was building as perhaps it collectively began to dawn just how massive this march was becoming.
Passing beneath the freeway the cheers of protesters rang out, creating a powerful, defiant echo that resounded through the roiling streets.
TAKE A RIGHT ON 4TH
At 4th and Jackson the peaceful mob made a northward turn.
In that direction loomed the coal black, glass and steel gargantuan known as the Columbia Tower. Easily the tallest building in town, it’s impossible to miss, and sure to draw a reaction. I asked a life long Seattleite to give you a quick description:
“It kinda looks like that weird black thing from that space movie, with the monkeys. Maybe I’m thinking of a different movie, but whatever movie it was, Columbia Tower totally looks like the black thing from it”.
Nailed it bro, feels like I’m standing right there…
As we drew nearer we filed beneath a couple of goofballs waving down from a billboard they had managed to ascend during the commotion.
“Dang kids up on there on the ol’ advertising plank again! Git ma scatter iron!”
Handmade signs bearing a multitude of messages bobbed along between the skyscrapers of downtown.
“Our rights aren’t up for grabs and neither are we!”
“I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit”
One was just a picture of a turd wearing a toupeé. Total classic!
High above on a building, a window washer wearing a pink shirt dangled from a rope. Cheers shot up from the passing marchers as he waved and went about his work.
With the Kubrick-esque Columbia Tower now at our backs, the iconic Space Needle beckoned before us like a massive guide post.
Just before Broad Street, the solid line of marchers began to disperse and occupy the Seattle Center.
WHAT!? NO FUN FOREST?!
I grew up in this town, and as a kid loved Seattle Center and it’s fun forest as I seem to remember it was called.
It was sort of a “b-list” amusement park, with permanent attractions such as “The Gravitron” and the “Flight To Mars”.
The latter had the distinct feel of a haunted house that someone bought at a garage sale and tried to “space” up. It was a little crappy, sure, but we loved it. Oh well, it’s gone. That’s my rant.
It’ll always be Seattle Center though, despite the lack of “amusing woods” or whatever you call it. As the years go by the architectural vision of a 60s styled future metropolis looks more like a campy rerun, but it’s hard to argue that the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s isn’t driving this town more than ever.
Rallied around a 600ft tall vision of a better tomorrow, people below were marching for that better tomorrow. Singing voices hung in the air like a light, lovely fog. Children played in the fountain, the people marched hand in hand and our flag was held high.
People of all the peoples, genders and creeds were gathered, united in peace and in the name of equality, justice and freedom. I won’t lie, made me feel pretty damn fuzzy inside.
By now it was getting fairly late in the day, we’d been at it for hours, yet the people continued to pour in.
On the way home, our tiny band passed a group of women dressed as 19th century suffragettes. Maybe they were time travelers, who knows!
From whatever era they came, the sign they bore carried a message relevant for all time:
Women’s rights are human rights.
I don’t have any numbers but if you could gauge by the lines outside local restaurants, cafes and convenience stores one could easily speculate that the Womxn’s March was a decent bump for local business.
Contrary to concerns about disorder and destruction, the event seemed a very constructive and positive gathering all together. No arrests were made and no violence erupted.
Bravo Seattle! I’ve never felt so proud to call this place my home.
HAPPY TRAILS! RESIST! SOLIDARITY!