Over 5,000 people gathered at Volunteer Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill to protest the normalized hate that has occurred as a result of president-elect Trump’s campaign. When I arrived at the park I could hear the mass cheering as I approached the concrete stage. March organizers, Demi Wetzel and Kelsey Coleman along with speakers from different parties and organizations set the mood for the march as audience members nodded, clapped and waved their signs in agreement. The theme to call out hate and to call for human rights. Although the march was the “Women’s March Against Hate” people from all races, ethnicities, sizes, genders, religions, sexuality, & abilities were encouraged to attend. Women being the organizing force behind this event was powerful due to the fact that Trump has abused, depreciated and minimized the role of women throughout his rise to presidency. March organizers shared on the event’s Facebook page, “We must stand together to show the world that misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia, and hate of any kind is not welcome in this city. Together we can show the world that women will not be bullied by anyone—not even the next president.”
Throughout each stage of the event there was an overwhelming feeling of love. There were individuals providing free hugs, free pins and magnets; I was even given a handmade Black Lives Matter magnet. As we walked out of Volunteer Park and onto Broadway street we were powerful. When I looked back I was stunned that I couldn’t find the end of our group. We shut Broadway street down, cars were stalled to the side of us, most passengers however did not look annoyed, they looked amazed. People captured us with their smartphones and some even ran out of their idleness and joined us to march.
Chants of over 5,000 people were powerful. As we passed stores, restaurants, banks, and other establishments on Broadway, patrons and bystanders heard of series of chants. This march was primarily focused on the hateful statements, actions and arguments that Trump and his supporters have used during his campaign and election so some of the most popular phrases to chant were: “My body, My Rights”; “Love Trumps Hate” and “Muslim Rights are Human Rights”. Marchers also chanted, “We stand in Standing Rock” as we continue to fight against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock. One of my favorite chants that I heard at this demonstration was, “When Blacks are under attack, What do we do? Stand up fight back!” The group ‘Blacks’ was replaced with Immigrants, Muslims, Women, and the list goes on of people who’s been attacked by Trump and the white supremacist ideologies that govern this country. This chant exemplified the purpose of one’s privilege in this society, to use it to stand up and fight for those who don’t have those privileges. I take that responsibility seriously as a healthy, able-bodied, educated, cis-gendered, middle class Black woman, but I don’t have the privilege of being white passing and to hear a crowd of majority White passing people chant their commitment to stand up and fight for everyone’s human rights was impactful.
On the same note participants also chanted, “Who’s Lives Matter? Black Lives Matter” as we passed a series of police officers before entering our final destination, Cal Anderson Park. After the group of ever 5,000 participants squeeze through the gates behind Seattle Central Community College into the park there were booths set up, people with instruments playing and flyers for upcoming events being passed out as people gathered in spots around the park ( some claimed up in trees) holding up their signs chanting their most impactful phrases. While trying to capture the scene I signed Initiative I-873, a bill to go before congress to change the verbiage associated with convicting an officer of police brutality. The current wording makes the conviction of a police officer near impossible. People came from a series of different groups and organizations that focused on different aspects of human rights which include the following:
- Seattle International Socialist Organization
- Revolutionary Communist Party
- Radical Women and Freedom Socialist Party
- Socialist Alternative Party
- Seattle Communist Study Group
I’d mentioned in another article, Why I’m Adrenalized by a Trump Presidency, that although I did not want Trump to be president I’m comforted by the fact that people will be forced to come together under a series of umbrellas to #ResistTrump. We can see how this is happening in these types of demonstrations where parties, organizations and individuals come together under the common belief that human rights are for everyone, not just the privileged class. I want to take a moment to thank the organizers, Demi Wetzel and Kelsey Coleman, for putting this event together. It gave me a change to collaborate with thousands of people to demonstrate out love for all people and our refusal to accept hate as a campaign tactic, slogan or ‘boy’s talk’. This march was a great success!