Today was the Women’s March on Seattle- the sister event to the Million Women’s March and Marches on Washington D.C. held all over the country. I dressed in layers and joined up with wonderful friends, new and old, to march the 3.6 miles over the course of four plus hours through the streets of Seattle.
Prior to the event today, city officials were estimating that about 50,000 participants would march. Early reports estimate the number to be closer to 130,000. There were so many people we were essentially at a standstill for the first 90 minutes. The crowd surged then stopped to a dead halt. We progressed only tw0 to three blocks in just over an hour. We were largely standing uncomfortably shifting from foot to foot waiting to take 3-4 steps forward again. Despite the lack of progress and the need for food and restroom breaks, however, the crowd stayed the course.
It was very peaceful and orderly and it felt like everyone was on the same level. No one above or below anyone else, it was just a bunch of people showing up as human beings wanting their interests to be heard. Admittedly, I was impressed by the quiet resolve among the participants. We stood through our pained legs and hungry bellies to keep our spots in line and to keep pressing forward- no matter how slowly. It was a really powerful demonstration of spirit.
The thing about our current national situation is that people have lost a lot of hope. I know from my experience this past year that hopeless is a bad place to be. It feels terrible and overwhelming to think that things that deeply effect your life are outside your control. It feels depressing and stressful to realize you may lose something valuable to you, or worse, that you may not be protected or could be put at risk. That is a very difficult place to operate from. This I know. This has been my world almost every day of the past 11.5 months.
Marching today gave people something to do with the fear and frustration. It let them be seen. It let their voices be heard. They were also visually reminded that they are not alone on an enormous level. Fear and frustration do well in isolation. They do not do well among a crowd of 130,000. Each person at the March had the benefit of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with someone else who felt similarly to her/him. I know that recognizing your pain in someone else’s eyes eases your soul. I think a lot of people were comforted by that today.
Admittedly, the piece that touched me the most were the signs that read “I stand with the vulnerable.” That meant a lot to me. I am vulnerable. I am a person in need of serious treatment under a health care plan that is in jeopardy. However, I am not a victim. I will stand up and march for hours, like I did today, to be sure my voice and the voices of people like me are heard. I will do what I can to protect myself and people in the same or similar position. I will not tolerate a system or society that preys on the vulnerable, and I will not be silent about it either. This isn’t a fight I started, but it is one I will help finish.
I hope you are able to do what you need to do to be heard as well. I believe in the incredible spirit and love of the people of this country, and I believe we will rebuild from the ground up. I absolutely wish President Trump the best and I hope all the early fears and indications about him turn out to be unfounded…However, just in case, people like me will be there to keep the cart on the rails. I know that for certain.
Give ‘Em Hell