A defiant and very pink wave or marchers stretched from the Central District to the Seattle Center as women from across the region — and womxn and those who love them all — stood up and hit the streets for reproductive, immigrants, and LGBTQ rights Saturday.
It looked like early estimates of up to 50,000 marchers could have been accurate as the first columns of people arrived at the Seattle Center as the tail end of participants was still leaving the morning rally site at Judkins Park, more than three miles away. UPDATE: The unofficial estimate being used by police is 120,000 people participating in the Seattle march.
“You would not believe the view from up here. It’s nothing but nasty women and pussyhats,” Chris Charbonneau of Planned Parenthood said in her time at the speakers platform to fire up the crowd as thousands gathered Saturday morning.
Charbonneau warned about the Trump administration’s approach to women’s health.
“They intend to not worry a lot about the lack of pap smears, the affordable contraceptive care, cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases…” Charbonneau said, “and they must be stopped.”
— jonathan zwickel (@zwickelicious) January 21, 2017
— Lisa Bruce (@lisarosebruce) January 21, 2017
— Kristie Macris (@kristiemacris) January 21, 2017
— Julianne Dalcanton (@dalcantonJD) January 21, 2017
— Tuesday Mira (@tuesday_mira) January 21, 2017
— Iris Carrera (@goldirises) January 21, 2017
— CindiLewis (@CindiLewis9) January 21, 2017
— Corey C Blaustein (@coreyclaxton) January 21, 2017
— Alex Garland (@AGarlandPhoto) January 21, 2017
Saturday’s massive rally and march followed marches and protests Friday that have been spirited but mostly peaceful with few arrests. Police are investigating a shooting at a protest outside an appearance by a right-wing, pro-Trump speaker at the University of Washington.
Organizers preached patience at Saturday’s event as huge crowds made their way to the Central District park from all directions for the rally before even more slowly filing out for the march to the Seattle Center.The repeated call from speakers was usefully calming and chant-like: “And still I rise…” Streets in the area were tied up by traffic as pedestrians spilled into streets making their way around Judkins Park. Buses serving the area were filled to the brim. Those coming from farther away faced bigger challenges with reports of bus riders giving up on waiting for an open coach and trying to hitch a ride to the Central District. Lyft and Uber systems both snapped into premium pricing and systems like Car2Go showed a massive cluster of cars ringing Judkins but none available elsewhere in the city.
Other speakers included executive director of the Chief Seattle Club Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi and 37th District state senator Rebecca Saldana.
Aneelah Afzali of the American Muslim Empowerment Network urged the crowd to fight for more than women’s rights.
“Up to 30% of slaves brought from Africa were Muslim,” she said. “Today, over 50,000 American Muslims are doctors saving lives every day. The rest of us are lawyers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, volunteers and other positive contributors to our communities.”
“But this reality is distorted through falsehoods and fear mongering,”Afzali continued. “Well-funded anti-Muslim hate groups have spent over $200 million to demonize Islam and Muslims. Most Americans don’t personally know a Muslim and it’s easy to dehumanize a minority you don’t know. Islam is also the most mentioned religion in mainstream media and according to research most of that coverage is defamatory.”
Charbonneau also sounded a warning — for the Trump administration.
“Some of us here today are becoming active for the first time,” she said. “And many others have been fighting for justice all their lives whether they wanted to or not because of their skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. But today we are all here together. And together we’ll harness this energy and create a unified front against hate or intolerance.”
“An action against any of us is an action against all of us,” Charbonneau said.
CORRECTION 1/24/2017: In our original report, CHS mistakenly attributed a quote from Chris Charbonneau to Aneelah Afzali of the American Muslim Empowerment Network. We have corrected the mistake and added new reporting on Afzali’s speech. We apologize for the error.