Organizers expect about 50,000 people at the rally/march in Seattle on Saturday 21, positioning it as the third largest event in the country. For context, CenturyLink Field can seat 69,000; Safeco, just shy of 50,000; Key Arena, less than 18,000.
The Seattle Women’s March begins with a 10 am rally at Judkins Park that is followed by a 3.6-mile march to the Seattle Center. National media have focused on the rally in Washington, DC, but there are more than 600 “sister events” around country and the world.
Marchers will depart Judkins Park in groups or waves. (Think about how organizers pace the start of a marathon race.) Organizers have a long list of organizations on the event website (scroll) if you want to pick one in advance.
A “silent” march
Taking a page from the civil rights movement, organizers are asking marchers to reserve chants for the start and end points, making this a “silent” march:
— Womxns March Seattle (@womensmarchsea) January 15, 2017
The suggestion has been (unnecessarily, IMO) controversial. As a consequence, TheStranger reported Tuesday:
Organizers posted that they’ve had to shut down comments on the Womxn’s March Facebook page in response to “the overwhelming volume of posts coming in to the event page, and our need to focus on launching the march this week.” Instead of managing everyone’s comments and responding directly to e-mails, they’ll post “one FAQ post a day answering questions that came in that day.”
Silent protests can be powerful.
Four years ago, protesters in Turkey began standing in public places, silently, in protest of their government.
More recently, “taking a knee” during the national anthem at the start of football games last fall was a form of silent protest.
For this event, in particular, the placement of soapbox speakers along the route encourages periodic listening and reflection. Both are better served by silence than by shouts and chants. Organizers rightly point out:
If we all speak at once, observers will only hear noise; they will not hear the message.
Not only will they not hear the message, they won’t hear any message.
I encourage marchers to try it.
Hold hands with the friends you arrived with and comrades-who-had-been-strangers.
Focus on your breath. On your heart. On the energy that surrounds you.
Smile. (Try to ignore the angel’s tears, AKA rain.)
Listen to the speakers en route. Reflect, link their message to your life or to one thing you can do, proactively, tomorrow.
Be fully in the moment, and when you get to Seattle Center, roar! But don’t release everything yet — wait until we have all arrived and then roar like the fans when the Hawks or Sounders score.
Let’s move the needle on the earthquake monitor at UW! That’s only possible if we arrive charged and ready to rock-and-roll in unison.
The south-to-north route
- Start at Judkins Park (south entrance)
- From 20th Avenue South and South Weller Street, the route heads north on 20th Avenue South
- West on South Jackson Street
- North on 4th Avenue
- West on Denny Way, and
- North on 2nd Avenue North into Seattle Center
- End at Seattle Center (400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109)
Planners have solicited more than a dozen community members to act as “soapbox speakers” long the route. These volunteers will share a poem or a story or a message about one of the women’s organizations involved in the event. Marchers should remain within earshot of each for about two minutes, according to TheStranger.
The route will be open, in other words there will be no blockades. However, for the safety of the participants, organizers are asking that marchers use one of these three designated access points where participants can safely enter and exit with assistance.
- S. Jackson St. and Maynard Ave S. – approx. 1.5 miles from Judkins
- 4th Ave. and Columbia St.
- 4th Ave. and Pine St.
Getting there (and home again)
If you’re thinking about using public transportation, King County Metro noted on Thursday that there will be extra buses on an as needed (“on demand”) basis. These extra buses will not show up in Trip Planner or OneBus Away. Sound Transit plans to operate its three-car trains and will deploy extra trains if needed to help manage crowds.
A commenter on the West Seattle Blog reported that there is an Uber promotion:
Uber Seattle is offering $5 off uberPOOL trips for anyone participating in the Women’s March on Seattle on Saturday, January 21. uberPOOL enables people going to the same place at the same time to share the journey.
Here’s how to access your discounted ride:
- Open the Uber app and tap ‘Payment’ then ‘Promotions’
- Enter the promo code WMWA2017
- Request an uberPOOL ride on Saturday, January 21* and the $5 discount will automatically apply
*The WMWA2017 promotion is available for uberPOOL only and will be available for rides that start or end at Judkins Park or Seattle Center on January 21 between 8 am and 4 pm.
This promotion is good for new and existing users.
The Seattle Department of Transportation released this map: