Hundreds of people lined the Kirkland waterfront early Saturday morning for the Eastside March for Justice.
The group of protesters met at Houghton Beach Park with signs that read things such as “resist” and “sisters unite and fight,” with some wearing the pink knitted hats that were a symbol of the Women’s March in January. The group heard former Kirkland mayor and current Rep. Joan McBride, among others, address the crowd.
“I hope this is another way for people to stand up and be counted,” McBride told the Reporter. “In this Washington we are all essential.”
Some at the march said that the Women’s March in January the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the people who have been calling their representatives in Washington D.C. are making a difference in the national conversation.
“I want to resist this administration because I think they are really cruel and mean,” Kirkland resident Debbie Baldwin said. “We have already accomplished something because they could not pass healthcare. I want to keep going and have our voices heard.”
The group marched down Lake Washington Boulevard to Marina Park, with cars passing and honking in support, to hear more speakers talk about free speech, women’s and LGBTQ rights, and fighting the new federal administration’s proposed changes.
“We need to communicate our anxieties about what is going on at the national level,” McBride said. “Across the state we see where a lot of groups of people are saying maybe we have been too complacent.”
McBride was joined at the march by fellow 48th District Representative Patty Kuderer and Kirkland City Councilmembers Penny Sweet and Jay Arnold, among others.
“We are already achieving some great things,” Sweet said. “We have such an amazing community. There is solidarity around issues we all agree on. The diversity in our community is amazing. We are creating processes for a giant community conversation.”
At Marina Park, where the march ended, booths were set up by various organizations including the ACLU, Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition, Indivisible Kirkland Kenmore, Kirkland Safe, PFLAG, Planned Parenthood, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA), Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy (WAAA) and 41st and 48th District Democrats.
Eastside March Director Brian Granowitz, one of the event’s organizers, said he was happy to see people lined up at the booths to get more information about donating and volunteering. “I was ecstatic,” he said after the march. “That was exactly why we wanted to have (this event).”
In addition to McBride and Sweet, speakers at Marina Park included Kirkland Safe’s David Greschler; PSARA Administrative Vice President Bobby Righi; Caley Cook, president of the Society of Professional Journalists and University of Washington communications professor; James Terwilliger with the 48th District Democrats; Mike Kipling, ACLU of Washington Legal Committee member; and Susan Steckler, WAAA’s director of strategic communications.
“The booths and the speakers gave a lot of good information,” Granowitz said.
He added that he and his fellow Eastside March planning committee members will take the momentum built by having between 200 and 300 people in attendance into other events in the future.
“We’re already looking at what else we can do,” he said.
For more information about this event or what’s next for the Eastside March group, visit facebook.com/eastsidemarch.
Reporter Catherine Krummey contributed to this article.