I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.
Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.
Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).
I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.
By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.
(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)
I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.
What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.
I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.
The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!
(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)
By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!
When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.
Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!