What It’s Like to Stand in the Streets with 175,000 People

Miles of major Seattle streets flowing with the passion of people on foot. The pictures above are hard to believe. That’s a large portion of our city, in the streets. I stood among what official estimates now say was somewhere around 175,000 of my neighbors! This is one of the most historic days I’ll ever see.

Only hours earlier we’d been near someone as he got shot at an anti-fascist protest at University of Washington. And, the week had been filled with the stress and fear of Trump’s transition to power. So, this felt like a much-needed boost of hope and positive energy. These amazing shots are from photographer Conor Musgrave on Facebook:

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As we traveled down Jackson–somewhere around 20th Avenue where it starts to go downhill–I could see the fullest view of the crowd that I’d be able to see all day. Thousands upon thousands of people in front of me. Then, I turned around to see thousands upon thousands of people behind me. It was as if everyone in all of Seattle had come out of their houses and into the street. Signs showed many messages like:

“Girl Power!”

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During all the protests over the weekend, we wore Neighborhood Action Coalition patches and carried clipboards to recruit new members.

“Fuck Trump!”

“My Neck, My Back, My Pussy Will Grab Back”

“A Girl’s Place is in the Resistance”

“Free Melania!”

Some people carried Trump puppets, mothers held babies, fathers carried kids on their shoulders, family members pushed their loved ones in wheelchairs. Everyone there was there for one reason, yet many.

We were there for women’s rights, for healthcare, for black lives, for lgbtq rights, for immigrant rights, as people who know a scared refugee and refugees themselves. We were there because we’re angry, because we’re scared, because we want to fight back. We were there for our countless concerns and we were there because Trump’s election is the

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Neighborhood Action Coalition Organizer Ximena spoke during the march at 7th and Jackson.

culmination of all of our concerns, he exemplifies everything wrong with our systems. He exemplifies greed, narcissism, misogyny, rascism, white supremacy, stupidity, and pure, vile, ugliness. Those in this march want to push toward a day when these things are not part of the public discourse, a day when everyone is equal in the eyes of our systems.

We caught Trump’s attention by marching in the streets in Seattle and around the world. The Washington Post reported that he watched on TV and his phone and that we pissed him off. We, more than four million people worldwide, took to the streets! People marched in London, Paris, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Antarctica, Oklahoma City, and many, many more places. We the people are power.

The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. was one of the first to organize, the others followed. They were timed to happen barely 24 hours after Trump took office. More than 750,000 people marched in Los Angeles! And somewhere around that number also marched on D.C., far outnumbering the people who showed up for Trump’s inauguration the previous day.

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Washington, D.C. Women’s March. January 21, 2017.

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Los Angeles. January 21, 2017.

It felt great to march. The streets and parks were so jammed that for long periods we couldn’t even walk!

I also realize my account is from a place of white privilege, from a man, me, who did not stand up for civil rights until the past few years. There are people of color who voiced their discomfort with this, questioning whether we’ll show up for social justice ever again after this march, if we’ll truly join the fight now, or if we were just here to make ourselves feel better for the day.

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I am also with the people who are frustrated by so much emphasis being put on “peace” during marches too. Yes, it’s good no one got arrested or hurt, but we must remember there has been nothing peaceful about our shameful racist systems that have inflicted violence on people of color since our founding days. And, there is nothing peaceful about Trump’s transition to power, his taunts and threats, or the threat of millions losing their healthcare. That is violence. If we are going to be angry about violence, let’s get our priorities straight. Don’t pick on protestors!

Here are just some of the terrifying headlines from the Washington Post, New York Times and The Intercept on the same day as the worldwide marches:

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Can you believe there are millions and millions of people in this country who are not bothered or worried by what’s happening to our democracy? I am dumbfounded by this. How un-American!

UPDATE ON UW SHOOTING VICTIM:

I want to add an update from the UW shooting. We’re now seeing this reporting about the anti-fascist victim who was in a worker’s union and part of at least one other organizing group. A crowd-sourced fundraising page has raised more than $40,000 to cover his medical expenses. This is from The Seattle Times as of January 24, 2017:

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