2019 Womxn’s March Seattle, thousands strong, rallies on Capitol Hill

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Thousands made their way from Cal Anderson Park to the Seattle Center Saturday in a third year of marching for women’s rights in Seattle and as part of the national Women’s March movement. There were fewer people compared to the two previous marches in the city with the 2017 inaugural march of around 120,000 people setting the record for largest demonstration in Seattle’s history and the largest event ever hosted in Cal Anderson. The 2019 march still brought out thousands to the streets of Capitol Hill.

Colleen Echohawk-Hayashi and Monserrat Padilla led the morning rally to start the day in Cal Anderson. “We have to be more than just marching today, we have to donate, volunteer, we have to lead,” said Echohawk-Hayashi, executive director of Chief Seattle Club.

“I’m undocumented and unafraid. Transgender and unashamed. A woman and unapologetic about it,” Padilla shouted into the mic. The crowd cheered. Padilla, coordinator with the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, then asked the audience to call out after her, “Trans women are real women.” Continue reading

Work finally begins to make Cal Anderson restrooms all-gender, a first for Seattle Parks

Cal Anderson’s bathrooms — to the left — are getting an overhaul (Image: City of Seattle)

A delayed project to overhaul Cal Anderson’s notoriously filthy restrooms into an all-gender facility is underway in Capitol HIll’s central park. The result should be bathrooms that are better and safer for everybody. Plus, the park’s water feature and reflecting stream and pool will get a much needed infrastructure upgrade.

Seattle Parks and Rec announced the start of construction this week and says contractor Forma Construction Company already has the bathrooms closed down to begin work.

“Although the comfort station will be closed during the project, portable toilets are in place for park visitors,” the parks department promises. Continue reading

A story of bibimbap bulgogi, Oma Bap’s bowls set to join new Hugo House

Kimchi fried rice (Image: Oma Bap)

There are a lot of stories at the new mixed-use version of Capitol Hill’s Hugo House literary center — six, to be exact — but the tale behind the building’s coming new restaurant is more of a legend of logistics than a romance of food and the written word.

“Contemporary fast casual Korean” concern Oma Bap is expanding to 11th Ave and will take the restaurant suite adjacent the street level, 10,000 square-foot literary center across from Cal Anderson Park. Continue reading

1/19/19: Seattle Womxn’s March starts at Cal Anderson

Despite national controversy and local concerns about diversity and respect for annual MLK Day actions and celebrations, a third year of January marching and organizing for women’s rights activism is coming to Seattle with Cal Anderson again an epicenter of action in only a few short weeks.

Liz Hunter-Keller, the communications chair for Seattle Womxn Marching Forward, which organized the inaugural march in 2017 and has continued to shepherd anniversary events, estimated that 50 to 70 organizations are involved in making this year’s Seattle Womxn’s March a reality.

“There has to be more work and more connection, and more love and more understanding and that comes from deeper experiences, like the ones we’re going to try to provide at Seattle Center,” Hunter-Keller said.

Seattle Women’s March 2019 — UPDATE

The Seattle events haven’t been easy to pull together. The 2018 Women’s March in Seattle was planned by another group as officials and organizers were unsure how many thousands to expect on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Activists call for big ‘Protect Mueller’ protest starting in Cal Anderson — UPDATE: Thousands march

Gov. Jay Inslee was first to address the crowd (Images: CHS)

UPDATE: A few thousand filled the grass bowl at Cal Anderson and then E Pine for a march to the Federal Building Thursday night in a rally and protest against the Trump administration’s latest moves to thwart an investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

The night’s protest was part of actions across the country as some 100,000 reportedly marched in various cities across the U.S.

Flags were a common sight Thursday night as the march made its way off the Hill (Images: CHS)

“I’m Jay Inslee and I’m the governor of a state of seven million people who insist on the rule of law to protect the United States Constitution,” Washington’s governor said as he spoke to the crowd just after 5 PM inside Capitol Hill’s central park.

“What we are doing tonight is speaking out early against a repeated unconstitutional fearful acts of a president who feels cornered,” Inslee said. “Because what we have seen in the last several days is the Americans speaking out to a United States House of Representatives that will finally hold him accountable.” Continue reading

Sexual assault survivors speak out against Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination at Cal Anderson vigil

(Images: Nick Turner for CHS)

“I grew up believing that being female was weak. That my tears…meant I was weak, and that I should be able to take it…And so, when I was assaulted and when I was raped, I didn’t tell because I thought it was my fault for my weakness, or because I went out, or because maybe I wore something, or maybe I had something to drink. Somehow, it was going to be my fault…I think that it’s time that we stopped thinking that taking it is somehow a positive thing. I think that it’s time we stopped buying the idea that, if we speak up, we’re bitches or pushy broads or battle axes or any of those pejorative comments that people use to describe strong women.”

Those were the words of a woman, one of many, who spoke at a vigil held in Cal Anderson Park Wednesday night to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh and respond to the allegation that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford and others.

“Our tears might look like weakness on one level but they are part of our strength, because being strong doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad,” the woman continued. “There are lots of other people who have been oppressed for a very long time and I’ve done my best to try to use whatever privilege my white skin gives me to stand up and speak for other people and be a decent ally. Today I’m here for myself as well, and I hope that we all will put value on ourselves as well and stand up and, if anyone’s getting treated like that, don’t take it.” Continue reading

Pro-choice groups holding #StopKavanaugh Vigil in Cal Anderson

Fortunately, President Trump’s text to millions of Americans did not involve MAGA. Unfortunately, it also did not announce the removal of Brett Kavanaugh from consideration for the Supreme Court. Wednesday night as Washington D.C. braces for a vote on the troubling nominee, groups led by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Seattle Indivisible will hold a #StopKavanaugh Vigil in Cal Anderson:

Seattle #StopKavanaugh Vigil

The vigil is part of gatherings planned across the country “to demand that the U.S. Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Capitol Hill’s central park continues to be a gathering point of resistance against the Trump administration. Earlier this year, tens of thousands rallied there before marching to the Seattle Center for women’s rights. Next year’s Womxn’s March Seattle is being planned for January but organizers are hoping to coordinate the event with annual MLK Day celebrations and actions with a start planned for the Central District.

Seattle’s writers and creatives find Capitol Hill home again at Hugo House grand reopening

Maria Semple, best-selling author and screenwriter, speaking at the opening event last Saturday

There once was a Hugo House here / We loved its old crazy quilt cheer / This house, it would seem, an architects dream / But the spirit of quirkies still near

This poem was recited by Dick Gemperle last weekend at the grand reopening of Richard Hugo House, a beloved community workspace for writers and a home for Seattle’s “literary heartbeat.”

“This is a wonderful time for Hugo House. Everything is coming together in September. On the 4th of September we closed the transaction to purchase this space. We’re almost done with construction, almost done with our capital campaign, tonight is our grand opening, and next week classes start,” said Gemperle, board president of Hugo House. “It’s all coming together.”

The new Hugo House offers more space for readers and writers with more classrooms, along with a dedicated performance space for readings, and a front parlor space with desks and bar that will be open during events. Continue reading

Plans coming together for 2019 Seattle Women’s March — UPDATE

MLK Day 2018 marchers

Some of the thousands who marched for women in 2018

UPDATE 1/14/19: Three days of activism begins Saturday 1/19/19 with a rally and march from Cal Anderson Park:

1/19/19: Seattle Womxn’s March starts at Cal Anderson

UPDATE 9/26/18 1:55 PM: Organizers from Womxn’s March Seattle say they are working with the groups that hold the city’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march and rallies to coordinate on an event in 2019 that brings the two efforts together with respect for both and without overshadowing either cause.

CHS reported previously on a 2019 plan for a Sunday march starting in Cal Anderson but that event does not have the support of Womxn’s March Seattle which has been key in driving the past events. To eliminate confusion, CHS has removed details of the un-supported Sunday march. We apologize for adding to any confusion around the 2019 march.

Liz Hunter-Keller tells CHS that the weekend is still being shaped but that a “super group” of activists and organizations has been working on the plan and will announce participants and details soon. As it did in 2018, Womxn’s March Seattle is planning a Saturday of workshops and activism before next year’s event planned for Monday, January 21st in conjunction with the annual MLK celebrations and march. Continue reading

‘A gift’ — first look inside Capitol Hill’s new Hugo House

Boards from the old Hugo House — complete with the graffiti encouraged at a goodbye party before its demolition — live on in the new Hugo House

The new Hugo House will be open to the public for the first time Saturday but the staff moved in Wednesday and the space has already hosted its first event — an opening preview for the more than 300 community donors and public officials responsible for the one-of-a-kind writing center across from Cal Anderson Park.

“We’re in a time right now when words really matter,” State Representative Nicole Macri said at Monday night’s pre-opening reception in the new center.

“I’m so grateful that the state came through.”

Rep. Macri inside the new Hugo House Monday night

Continue reading