Signs of defiance, resilience power Women's March 2.0

Tens of thousands take to the streets of Seattle

The cheers cascaded down Fourth Avenue on Saturday, in a wave of noise from marchers to the horizon and beyond.

On the one-year anniversary of the president’s inauguration — and just hours after the start of the federal government shutdown — tens of thousands took to the streets undeterred by cloudy skies and intermittent rain. They made their way from Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill, down Pine Street to Westlake Center, and onward along Fourth to Seattle Center, a distance a little under three miles.

This was the path of the Seattle Women’s March 2.0 (the first was the day after Trump took office), as similar displays took place across the country.

Mary Grant was among the returning marchers, and used the occasion to write the president a report card for his first year. She had no interest in grading on a curve — giving him Fs across the board in science, math, social studies, history, and language arts — and noting that he “does not play well with others.” He runs with scissors, too.

The piano teacher from Bainbridge Island was inspired by the messages carried during last year’s march, but found honing in on one topic a non-starter.

“My problem was I couldn’t single out an issue above all others because it all matters,” she said, “and the whole package is so disturbing.”

Her sign was just one of many to take aim at Trump, with sentiments ranging from simple pleas for impeachment, to others that took on a more distinctive flair, like one emblazoned with the words, “Just Say No to Fascism,” and an updated Ghostbusters logo that instead featured an orange caricature of the president.  

Craig Harris of Brier suggested that instead of, “deporting all these innocent people,” the country should figuratively “deport” Trump from the White House. It would solve a lot of problems, he said.

“I think we got to speak out against the leadership of this country,” he said, wearing an “I am Trayvon” shirt in honor the Florida teen killed in 2012.

Though plenty had scathing critiques of the commander-in-chief, others brought along messages of empowerment and resilience. Ellen Nicoletti of Snohomish hoisted a sign that quoted Thomas Jefferson on one side, saying “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty,” and read “To Abandon Facts is to Abandon Freedom,” on the other.

“The reason we love America is because we have democracy, and democracy is a participatory democracy,” she said. “It’s not autopilot. You don’t sleep and hope that everything works out. You have to fight for it.”

Saturday was an opportunity to speak up for those who can’t.

“[If] we ignore facts,” she said, “we have tyranny.”

Jean Sundborg chose to express herself differently than most. Instead of a sign — she’s not a word person, she said — the Uptown resident waved a flag of the Earth she’s had since the start of the Iraq War. It’s accompanied her to numerous rallies and protests ever since.

“I was so incensed and so angry about that that I went out and bought this flag,” she said.

She considered making a sign for Saturday, but the neutral symbol of the planet as a whole felt right.

“There’s been no change in what I saw a year ago,” she said. “It’s gotten worse — who could have guessed — that the words, the behaviors, the nominations, the appointments would be so drastic against what I’m for.”

Standing at the corner of Fifth and Harrison as marchers finished their route were Suzanne Spencer and Steve Littlepage, the former holding a sign that simply read, “Same Shit, Different Century.” She wanted to be part of making a statement.

“I think it really speaks to how we’re starting to — even now — go more backwards in time,” she said. “And that’s not a good thing.”

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