Police estimated over 2,000 people attended Saturdays Women March Against Hate event, which began in Volunteer Park and Ended at Cal Anderson Park.
Police estimate that around 2,000 people attended Saturday's "Women March Against Hate" event, which began in Volunteer Park and ended at Cal Anderson Park. Ramon Dompor

Around 2,000 people—mostly women—marched through the streets of Capitol Hill on Saturday in a peaceful demonstration that began at Volunteer Park with speeches from event organizers and social justice activists, including Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant.

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Demi Wetzel, 27, created the march on Facebook shortly after Donald Trump became president-elect. A Clinton supporter and self-described feminist, Wetzel said she'd planned corporate events and hackathons before—but nothing this large and close to her heart. Before the march, 22,000 people said on Facebook that they were interested in attending the event, and an additional 6,300 people confirmed they were going.

“I figured we would maybe get a few hundred people, and that would be great, but I am pleasantly overjoyed and thrilled to see so many people out here,” Wetzel said on Saturday. “It really feels like it is hitting a nerve and that’s good because that shows there was a void there that will hopefully be filled.”

Ramon Dompor

As the crowd headed from Volunteer Park down Broadway, chants were aimed at protecting women’s rights: “Women! United! Will never be divided!” Later, as the group filled Cal Anderson Park, the chants turned toward president-elect Donald Trump: “No Trump, No KKK, no Fascist USA.”

Before the march set off, Sawant told the crowd: “We have to fight for full liberation of women and all of those who are oppressed."

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With fewer than 50 days until Trump takes his seat in the Oval Office, people in the march shared their fears.

“For me, this is much more about speaking out against the things Trump is for,” said Carlene O’Dell, 57, from the Lake City neighborhood. The health care specialist for the State Health Authority said she fears she’ll lose her job of enrolling people into Medicaid, in the near future, because of Trump.

Marching alone alongside the crowd of protestors, O’Dell gripped a large poster that read “NO H8.” She said it was wonderful to be part of a peaceful march empowering women, but said she was there to remind people that Trump should not be the next president due to his lack of compassion toward people and the environment.

“People have a tendency to get complacent after the election," O'Dell said. "Like, ‘Okay, it’s done we have to live with this.’ And I am saying, 'No, we are not going to live with this.' This has to be an everyday fight to speak out against all of the things that he is proposing.”

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Wetzel, the protest organizer, said that during the past election cycle—and long before it—women’s voices went unheard and were pushed to the wayside. She said she's attended a lot of protests in Seattle recently, but none of them were led by women for women.

She hopes this event will re-energize those who attended.

“Luckily, as a white woman I don’t face a lot of [hate] but I am very cognizant and realize that is not the case for most women,” Wetzel said. “A lot of it doesn’t directly affect me, but I think that is more reason why we should fight for everyone else, because it doesn’t just have to personally affect me to care—and I hope that’s becoming more prominent in our culture and in our cities.”

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Marchers were encouraged to donate one tampon or pad to Mary's Place, a nonprofit organization that serves homeless women and families in Seattle.

According to Linda Mitchell, the communications director at Mary’s Place, she was handed more than $300 in cash at the march—and she herself, along with volunteers, collected six to eight large garbage bags full of donations including tampons, pads and diapers (and even an oven mitt).

“Besides diapers, tampons and feminine products are the things women come in for the most,” Mitchell said. “There’s times where they come in with babies in wet diapers, wet socks, they have wet underwear, no bras … They need feminine hygiene products; things you don’t think about.”

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According to organizers, the march aimed to combat "misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia and hate of any kind." The whole point was to be inclusive, Wetzel said.

“I am a white queer woman," she continued, "so that is a perspective of its own, but then there are so many other people that have different perspectives and experiences, so I wanted to make sure everyone felt welcome to attend, but also that they are being seen and that they’re getting a platform to speak.”

Kelsey Coleman, 27, said that being a woman of color, having intelligence, and being motivated to do something good makes her feel most powerful. She said she hopes other people can find ways to channel their energy toward creating positive change rather than spreading more hate.

Coleman, a lab assistant at the Swedish Cancer Institute, hosted the event with Wetzel. She said that for her, it was partly a response to witnessing the outpouring of hate-fueled attacks and racial slurs on social media since the election.

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“I hope that it will bring attention to the fact that there is a lot of work to be done and that progress doesn’t just stop here at a march,” Coleman said. “I hope people get involved in local organizations that support vulnerable groups and maybe put on their own events, gather in small ways and big ways to affect change.”

Ramon Dompor

Photos by Ramon Dompor. Reporting by Alexis Myers.