by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
If there was any doubt in anyone's mind whether or not 'the people' would rise up to push back against newly-elected President Donald Trump, the historic January 21 Womxn's March on Seattle: Washington state answered with a strong message of peaceful protest, intersectionality, and unified message that love really will Trump hate. Seattle's march, with an estimated 150,000 participants (far exceeding all expectations from organizers and participants alike), joined in solidarity with dozens of 'sister' events from across the globe; putting the first-ever Women's March on Washington directly into the pages of history and the single most successful March on Washington of all time - totaling over 3 million participants by last count. It wasn't just a success; it was a reckoning.
Donald J. Trump, businessman, reality television star, and all around terrible person, was sworn in as the nation's 45th President, January 20, much to the shock of the nation who, for all intents and purposes had either been 'feeling the Bern' for Senator Bernie Sanders and his so-called 'political revolution' and its sights set on Democratic glory and the White House, or surmised that the famous pantsuit draped, glass ceiling breaker Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would beat the orange man with funny hair for the highest office in the land. You could almost feel the collective hearts of the world break as we so desperately wished that outgoing President Barack Obama (and the most captivating and adored FLOTUS since Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama) and best friend and Vice President Senator Joe Biden would be able to continue on for 'Four more years! Four more years!'
As reality began to sink in, it seemed as though, in some odd twist of cruel fate, that all reality was actually lost, and people - young and old, citizen or undocumented, LGBTQ or hetero - took to the streets in cities and towns across the world to let Trump know that for many of the millions of people he was #NotMyPresident.
Predictably, and like clockwork, the anarchist so-called protestors showed up to smash windows, threaten police officers and set limousines on fire. However unpredictably, later in the evening of Trump's inauguration spectacle, protestors who were otherwise non-violent throughout the day, turned into a frenzy at the University of Washington as they confronted pro-Trump, Milo Yiannopolous fans, resulting in the shooting of a 30-year-old man who is lucky to have survived. Other reports include ridiculous skirmishes between the antis and people whom they perceived to be a supporter. At the protest a high school student was assaulted because he was wearing a hat with the American flag on it which somehow the anti-Left took as proof of purchase for the Trump presidency and began to beat and punch and kick this kid - ultimately busting his nose open and dousing him with blue paint. Additionally at the Yiannopolous UW event (designed to incite violence it seemed) anarchists threw bottled, rocks, and - you guessed it - paint, at the police. Yiannopolous speech finished and the crowds diminished which led many to wonder, 'What will the Women in the World March look like?' the following day.
Organizers of the Women's March said, 'Thank you to the millions of people around the world who, on January 21, came together to raise our voices. But our march forward does not end here. Now is the time to get our friends, family and community together and MAKE HISTORY.'
The organizers also successfully raised $2,038,726. (2% more than their original goal of $2 million.)
Officially, organizers say that more than 5 million people participated around the world.
'On January 21, 2017 we will unite for the Women's March on Washington,' said organizers, adding, 'We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.'
'Because women's rights are human rights,' remind officials.
All proceeds went to logistics and expenses to put on the Women's March on Washington (DC).
The Women's March on Washington is a women-led movement that brought together people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds 'to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination.'
'Recognizing that women have intersecting identities and are therefore impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues, we have outlined a representative vision for a government that is based on the principles of liberty and justice for all,' said organizers. 'As Dr. King said, 'We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.'
'Our liberation is bound in each other's,' continued officials. 'The Women's March on Washington includes leaders of organizations and communities that have been building the foundation for social progress for generations. We welcome vibrant collaboration and honor the legacy of the movements before us: the suffragists and abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, the American Indian Movement, Occupy Wall Street, Marriage Equality, Black Lives Matter, and more, by employing a decentralized, leader, full structure and focusing on an ambitious, fundamental and comprehensive agenda.'
Although there is no official or legal relationship between The Women's March on Washington and the sister marches around the country and world,' organizers said, 'These sister marches reflect the vibrant, organic, grassroots nature of this movement. We appreciate the global demonstration of solidarity and are happy that those who cannot make it to D.C. have local options.'
Although the national march stole the spotlight - and rightfully so - Seattle turned up. There's no doubt about that and the feeling in the air was that we were all reminding each other about each other. Asking, 'How are you?' and actually meaning it. People donned the now famous pink colored 'pussy hats' as far as the eye could see.
When the Seattle march began it soon became noticeable that more and more marchers continued to show up. It was a tremendous feeling to look out in front of you and only see people instead of pavement, and then to turn around to look at the exact same scene behind me. The marchers were, literally, a sea of people. Several broadcast news outlets, KING 5 in particular, filmed from above the enormous crowd as their helicopter hovered nearby.
Marchers included the usual suspects such as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (who has gained federal notoriety this week for opposing Trump after he signed an executive order on immigration reform or crackdown) and other elected officials. The swath of people was made up almost entirely of young folks but in all truth - representation from any group of humans imaginable was on hand.
The feeling of the day was one of determination at first. Everyone showed up to march and make a point dammit! And we were going to do just that! Things got really exciting though when, as the march went on, photos of the solidarity marches just like the one we were participating in, were beginning to inspire the world. It's not every day you get to be a direct part of history.
Officials say they are empowered by 'the legions of revolutionary leaders who paved the way for us to march, and acknowledge those around the globe who fight for our freedoms. We honor these women and so many more.'
They are: Bella Abzug, Corazon Aquino, Ella Baker, Grace Lee Boggs, Berta Cáceres, Rachel Carson,, Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Miss Major Griffin Gracy, LaDonna Harris Dorothy, bell hooks, Dolores Huerta, Marsha P. Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Yuri Kochiyama, Winona LaDuke , Audre Lorde, Wilma Mankiller, Diane Nash, Sylvia Rivera, Barbara Smith, Gloria Steinem, Hannah G. Solomon, Harriet Tubman, Edith Windsor and Malala Yousafzai.
Several hashtags were used throughout the march such as #WomensMarch, #WhyIMarch and #IMarchFor to, as organizers put it, 'Tell the various and unique stories that bring people to our movement.'
Organizers are asking that you 'please post your photos to social media and tag us using the handle @womensmarch!'
In addition, the people behind the national event have developed '10 Actions, 100 Days.' Starting Sunday, they pledged to list an action that they say 'We all care about' for everyone to follow.
STEP 1: WRITE A POSTCARD
According to officials, 'Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you - and how you're going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We're offering printable postcards for you to download.'
'You can go it alone, or consider inviting some friends, neighbors and fellow Marchers over for a drink or dinner sometime in the next ten days to talk about your experience and fill out your postcards,' said organizers.
You can get the official card printed (available to download at the official website www.womensmarch.com), design your own, or be one of 10,000 people who can get a free Women's March Postcard using the Ink Cards App. If you have the equipment, you can print at home, or download the file and get cards printed locally.
STEP 2: MAKE THEM YOUR OWN
Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that you care about, whether it's ending gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women's health, LGBTQIA rights, worker's rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, environmental justice or anything else.
If you need some inspiration, check out the Women's March Unity Principles and #WhyIMarch hashtag.
STEP 3: SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD & SEND IT TO YOUR SENATOR
Before you send it, take a photo of your postcard and use the #WhyIMarch tag when posting it to social media.
NOTE: Remember to write a return address on the postcard.
The Women's March on Washington (WMW) has also launched its Youth Ambassador program specifically targeting the activism, interests and unique perspectives of our child, adolescent and teenage populations.
'We aim to provide a platform of civic engagement where our youth can make their voices heard,' said officials.
'WMW Youth Ambassadors are rock-star youth who are inspiring their communities through advocacy and activism. They are not waiting to grow up to 'be the change.' They are the change and deserve a place at the table,' say organizers. 'They have distinct voices and are exemplary leaders in their communities.'
'We call on young defenders of human rights to join us as we stand behind the WMW Youth Initiative's principles:
1) Fight against forces of evil, not persons doing evil.
2) Our diversities are the strength of this country.
3) Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
4) Community is the framework for the future. Engagement is crucial.
5) Honor the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us.
6) Honor our community by first honoring and respecting ourselves.
7) We have the power to change the future.
Areas of advocacy can include but are not limited to: Social Justice, Environmental Advocacy, Education/Schools, Violence/Juvenile Justice and Health & Wellness.
To make sure we don't miss any of the future actions, signup to get notified at the website. https://www.womensmarch.com
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