For the second year in a row, they took to the streets.
All around the country, millions participated in the second annual Women’s March. This included the Seattle Women’s March, which took place on Saturday alongside the many others nationwide.
The local event brought together tens of thousands of people from throughout the greater Puget Sound region, including residents from Kirkland, Bothell and Kenmore and the surrounding Eastside.
MARCHING FOWARD TOGETHER
“I think it went great,” Elisa Cooper, who attended the march, said Monday.
The Bothell resident attended last year’s march as well, recalling the massive crowds.
“The show of force from women, it was amazing,” she said, adding that her reasons for marching were more about being pro-female, rather than being anti-President Donald Trump.
And while this year’s numbers were not as big as last year’s event, which had an estimated turnout of more than 100,000, Cooper was excited about the crowd this year, which she said was really big.
On Saturday, Cooper noted that she saw a sign that read, “I should be at brunch today.” She said for many years, people have been “going to brunch” and not talking about politics, religion or other issues that have been viewed as controversial because it was not polite. But these are issues that need to be discussed, she said.
“Maybe people are starting to see that,” Cooper said.
Having always been politically active — lobbying in Olympia, contacting her local senators and participating in other marches — she said she has previously felt that she was alone in her discontent with Congress. But after seeing people from all political backgrounds marching this year, Cooper said she is not the only one who does not believe Congress represents them.
“It’s not just one party,” she said.
In addition, Cooper said it is easy to divide people and make the issues about gender or race but people can transcend that and march and forward together.
She added that there was an emphasis to get people registered to vote and encouraging people to actually vote as this year is the mid-term elections, which she thinks is “a good thing.”
Heather McKnight of Kirkland also attended last year’s march, which she described as “very moving.”
She had just moved to town from Hawaii and didn’t really know anyone yet. But this didn’t stop her. McKnight had found a charter bus that was going to the march and decided to go by herself.
“That’s a very different experience from the other marches I’d been to,” she said. “It was really powerful.”
McKnight said when she went by herself, she was able to take in more of her surroundings because she wasn’t distracted by conversation or trying to keep track of other people as she would have been if she had gone with others. She was able to see why other people were marching and had the time to contemplate what issues were really important.
This year, McKnight marched for a number of reasons.
She said some of the issues that are important to hear include women’s health care, the status of immigrants and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, the environment and free press.
McKnight said one of the things she found encouraging at this year’s march was the fact that she saw many more young people participating. She said the young women ranged from elementary school-aged to teenagers.
“It was really a full gamut of people that were younger,” McKnight said.
Another difference she noted was how law enforcement used bigger vehicles as barricades to block off cross streets. She said this could have been as a precaution to prevent people from driving through crowds as it has been done in the past to attack people in large gatherings. McKnight said she appreciated it.
She added that Saturday’s march also served to energize people to take action and participate in activities the next day, which took place throughout the region.
Eastside activities included an introduction to Islam at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond, a panel on how building the next generation of female leaders and various breakout sessions at Central Washington University-Sammamish covering topics ranging from homelessness to the challenges refugees are facing. There were also events throughout the region to get people to register to vote.
COMMITTED TO ACTION
Kenmore resident Ashley Plessas had wanted to march last year when she was living in Oklahoma but it didn’t work out as she was unable to get time off of work. In addition, she wasn’t sure if there would be a march in Tulsa, the nearest major city to where she was living. She said a lot of her friends went to the march in Washington, D.C.
“I got to live vicariously through them,” Plessas said.
While she had plans to march this year, it once again did not work out due to an emergency that happened Saturday morning. Despite this, Plessas said she has become more resolved and committed to get involved politically.
She said it is important for women to get out there, be politically active and demand a seat at the table because they are so underrepresented at the moment. Plessas also stressed the importance of exposing yourself to others’ ideas and thoughts and being politically open.