On Saturday 21 January 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, women and their allies poured into Seattle’s Judkins Park to muster for the Women’s (Womxn’s) March, a 3.6 mile walk of protest and solidarity. I started walking to Judkins from Capitol Hill, but I decided to stop on Jackson Street and take photos of the crowds lining the street waiting to fall in with the march as it passed.
While walking to the march, I got the sense that the city was converging on Judkins. Broadway was busy with people walking in groups, carrying signs, and wearing pink hats. There were lines of people waiting for buses and the light rail, and at several intersections people were hopping into cars at lights or stop signs. Social media amplified that sense of convergence. The Seattle Police Department, news departments, and municipal sources provided regular traffic updates and public transportation suggestions.
There was a sense of excitement in the crowds. Websites coordinating and publicizing the event stated the purpose and rationale for the march, but I suspect that a random polling the day of would not have yielded a consistent or uniform response concerning exactly why people turned out. I couldn’t help thinking about the lyrics of the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth: “There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” The front of the march passed my spot on Jackson at about 1130. I took my last photos at about 1445, and people were still marching along 4th Avenue toward the Space Needle.
We may not realize the significance of the march for some time. Until then, the organizers’ stated objectives will suffice. The event listing in Seattle’s The Stranger explained that “all women, femme, trans, gender non-conforming, and feminist people (including men and boys) are invited to march…[in] support for the community members who have been marginalized by the recent election.” The Stranger’s page connected the march to the Million Women March in Washington, DC, and provided a link to a New York Times Women in the World site reporting that the march organizers planned “to show our strength, power and courage and demonstrate our disapproval of the new president and his values in a peaceful march.”
Obviously, not every woman marched or agreed with the march’s objectives. By most accounts that I have seen, Trump did much better with female voters than expected. I’ve been following some of the stories in the New York Times and other newspapers about how we start discussing political differences with one another again. On social media and on television, discussions tend to go straight to tense confrontations. It would be interesting to get a small group together to discuss the issues once a month over coffee. If you’re in the Seattle area, keep it in mind.