More than 38,000 people are expected to participate Saturday in Seattle’s march and rally, inspired by the Women’s March on Washington. The Womxn’s March on Seattle — the “X” represents the intersection and overlapping of many forms of discrimination —is intended as a peaceful march for equality in a display of unity with marches around the world, says organizer Paula Goelzer.
This was a grassroots response to the 2016 election, according to Goelzer, a Seattle-based birth doula, who started the Facebook event for the Seattle event after she and her colleagues heard about the march in Washington D.C.
“We all agreed it would feel good to march, to be enveloped by like-minded community members spurred into action by the rhetoric of the election, but our jobs made the D.C. march impossible,” Goelzer said. “The response on the Facebook event was instant, and overwhelming, with thousands signing up the first day.”
Locally, Lisa Tario of Duvall also knew she wanted to be a part of it.
“Everyone should be more of an activist these days,” she said. “If you believe in something, you can’t just wait for it to happen.”
That’s how she became the march’s bus coordinator for the Snoqualmie Valley.
“I thought, ‘I’m sure that we have enough people in Duvall who would want to go on a bus so we should have a bus and wow, no one has done that yet,’” Tario said.
So she did. After contacting Cathia Geller, who was coordinating buses to the march for Bellevue, Issaquah and Sammamish, Tario got all the information she needed.
She reserved a bus and announced signups through the website, http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409044eacab2aa0fa7-snoqualmie.
Immediately, women and men started signing up for the march, filling a 56-passenger bus.
“It was less than four days,” Tario said, before she had to start a waitlist. That list is also growing, although the reservation deadline has passed. Currently, there are 12 on the list.
Last Friday, on the deadline, there were only seven on the waitlist, Tario said.
“If we got more people between now and next week, we could add a bus, but we’d need a minimum of 14 people,” she added.
Tario has adopted a flexible approach to the event and the demands of getting people there, because the event is still growing and changing. She’s willing to add a bus, and to change the route as needed,
“They just nailed down the start place of the march (Judkins Park, 10 a.m.) within the last 36 hours,” she said Friday. As for the Snoqualmie Valley bus contingent, the beginning and end of the day are set — 7:30 a.m. pickup at the Duvall Park and Ride, drop off around 4 p.m. at the same location — but the rest of the day will depend on what the riders want.
“This is going to have to be on an Italian schedule. In Italy, you don’t get buses at 4:02, you might get it at 5 or 6…. If you’re not flexible on stuff like this, you’re going to be disappointed.”
The Seattle event starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 21, with a rally at Judkins Park. Community activist Charmaine Slye will act as Mistress of Ceremonies. Local representatives from social justice and nonprofit organizations will be available to answer questions, sign-up people to e-mail lists or for volunteer projects, take donations.
Following the rally, participants will make a silent march to Seattle Center; the silent march is modeled after the traditions of the Civil Rights movement, a statement of solidarity and unity and a rebuke of violence and anger.
Entrance and exit points will be available to marchers all along the 3.6-mile route; seated areas will be available at the beginning and end of the march for people wishing to attend but not physically march. The march route will be announced shortly before Jan. 21, at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womxns-march-on-seattle-tickets-30595393646. The march route is accessible to both motorized and non-motorized mobility vehicles and strollers.
Participants will be encouraged to chant, sing, and shout as they finish the march in Seattle Center, where the event will disperse.
There are 11 sister marches in Washington State. More than 200 events are planned on Jan. 21 in 46 states and 30 countries.