Marching In Pink

When the Bainbridge ferry docked in Seattle the day of the worldwide women’s marches, Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, declared over the loudspeaker that pink would be Washington’s official color this day. Presenting every pink hue in hats, coats, and handmade signs, a flood of foot passengers unloaded off the car deck and the passenger ramp, and headed up Seattle hills toward Judkins Park to the start of the march.

People shoulder-to-shoulder, stretching three miles long and building to building wide – a polite and cheerful tide of rosy-capped humanity waving or wearing clever signs – some sassy, some serious, all heartfelt. After weeks of the new regime’s peculiar relationship with words, “alternative facts,” I guess they call falsehoods now, I loved being surrounded by words of caring and truth – often expressed with great humor.

The only unSeattle-like thing was the weather, skies cleared and real sunshine warmed us as we headed down Jackson toward the city center – such a treat after the drizzle and gloom of Inauguration Day. Along the route above us on an apartment balcony, a couple cheered and blasted Bob Marley’s “Stand Up!”

But mostly the walkers were as quiet as thousands of humans – women, grandpas and young guys, babies in strollers and people in wheelchairs – can be. Only occasionally, a powerful wave roar of voices would come from behind, catch us up, and then move beyond. Downtown, soapbox orators spelled out possibilities for action going forward into these four years.

Signs reflected the litany of protesters’ concerns including the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood, NATO, climate change, the rule of law. And although marchers showed up for all kinds of reasons, I kept thinking that the unifying energy demanded push back against this newly sworn in president – his bleak view, his lies, his disrespect for earth and people. Threats surround us, press freedom, immigration, the dismaying cabinet choices.

Many young women’s signs advised Trump to keep his tiny hands off their bodies, and one suggested “Grab Trump By His Putin.” My young friend made me a sign with Hillary’s words, “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights,” a phrase repeated over and over.

The bobbing, moving flush of pink caps thrilled me – a brilliant idea manifested in a multitude of creative ways – knitted and crocheted, made of fleece or wool, pink wigs and pink hair, families or friends united by their matching headgear. A man had fashioned a pink party bag into the pointy ears of a pussyhat. A red ball cap startled me, I could only see the first words “make America…” but my friend could see the rest: “…gay again!”

I don’t know what I expected, maybe that the event would be somber and negative. But no, it was joyous and affirming to be with good friends and part of that historic crowd – more than 120,000 by all estimates – the largest civic demonstration ever in Seattle.

All those shades of hats and skin (one poster showed the only unacceptable skin color to be orange) coalesced into a moving statement of hope, lessening the despair of the previous day and acknowledging the work ahead.

Stronger together.

pink-pussyhat

10 thoughts on “Marching In Pink

  1. And there I was watching you all from the BIMA desk…..My favorite sign was the one that said “now you’ve pissed off grandma.” Oh oh!!

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  2. Stronger together. That’s certainly the feeling I’ve come away with from this event. It must have been incredible to be in the midst of all those people. Not so many up here, but an overwhelming feeling of effort being made to be heard. I do think we’ll need those little hats again.

  3. I looked for you, Katy. Knew you woud be there. The Seattle March was not as “boisterous”, evidently as the march in DC.No peace or respite allowed. How sad for America

  4. Knew you would be in the Seattle March…..evidently not as “boisterous” as the one in DC. Let’s keep things stirred up in America. What a sad commentary.

    • The organizers of the Seattle march requested that it be a “silent” march in imitation of, and in honor of civil rights marches of the past. I think with these decisions being made there is no doubt things will be “stirred up.” Puzzled by your “sad commentary” – I think the Women’s March a fine commentary on all that matters.

  5. Everything I read about the various marches is so inspiring — what a moment for women! And for all of us! Thank you for the beautiful description!

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