Issaquah residents of all ages took part in the 2017 Seattle Women’s March. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Issaquah residents of all ages took part in the 2017 Seattle Women’s March. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Sammamish, Issaquah residents gear up for Women’s March, round two

Last year’s Seattle march drew nearly 200,000.

If you missed out on the chance to wear a pink hat, carry a bold sign and be part of one of the biggest worldwide women’s movements in history at last year’s Seattle Women’s March, never fear — the event is happening again this year on Saturday, Jan. 20.

And once again, Sammamish peace and tolerance activist group Plateaupians for Peace is taking buses of marchers from Sammamish and Issaquah so that no one will have to miss out on the march due to the hassle of finding parking in Seattle.

At last year’s event, nearly 1,000 people caught Plateaupians buses in Sammamish, Issaquah and Bellevue to join the nearly 200,000 protesters at the Seattle Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017. Uniting the rest of the world in the international Women’s March movement, Seattle’s march was one of the biggest in the U.S. — and this year’s organizers are hoping the 2018 event will be just as successful.

“It was incredibly empowering, it was so peaceful, it was electric,” said Plateaupians co-founder Sarah Hawes Kimsey, who took part in last year’s Seattle march. “I’d never been a part of anything like that, certainly nothing that size.”

The march, which coincided with the inauguration of President Donald Trump in 2017 and with his one-year anniversary as president in 2018, stands up for the rights of women, the LGBT community, minorities, the environment and the return of values such as compassion and kindness to American politics.

Plateaupians for Peace member Hayley Gudgin, who heads the group’s Neighbours Without Borders Committee (spelled with a “u” because many of its members have emigrated from countries that use the British spelling), participated in the Washington, D.C. march last year. Though she was surrounded by 500,000 people — the largest crowd of her life — Gudgin said she had never felt so safe and surrounded by friends.

“Everything has gotten so mean-spirited over the last two years, and it’s as much about walking together as it is about the issues,” Gudgin said. “Showing we can unite to do something together regardless of our differences just makes a huge impact … It was as much a celebration of who we were, working together, rather than a protest.”

Kimsey said that holding the march for a second year in a row is vital to keeping the spirit of progress alive.

“A lot has changed over the past year, and it’s important to stay engaged and not become complacent again,” she said. “I think people need that rally to get up and move again, to keep the energy flowing toward positive change.”

Gudgin believes this year’s marches haven’t gotten the attention of last year’s, in part because the Women’s March movement has been a bit overshadowed by the #MeToo movement, which has seen prominent women in the media publicly sharing stories of sexual harassment and assault.

However, Gudgin and Kimsey know that this issue can be brought to light through the march.

“Over the last year, women are done with being silenced, are ready to be amplified and be brave,” Kimsey said. “It’s an avalanche of courage.”

“It’s important that we go out and show that it affects everyone, not just celebrities, not just people in high-power positions,” Gudgin said.

This year, Gudgin will be joined by her son, who teaches martial arts, including self-defense classes for women. Gudgin said that her son wants to march to show support for the women he teaches.

“Regardless of what gender your child is, they can stand up for women’s rights and fight for what’s happening. If it doesn’t happen to you, you quite often don’t realize it’s going on. But now that we know it’s happening, we can stand up and say, ‘We’re not gonna stand for it.’”

Buses will leave from the South Sammamish Park and Ride, located at 3015 228th Ave. SE, Sammamish, and the Issaquah Transit Center, located at 1464 Newport Way NW, Issaquah, at 8 a.m. To learn more or sign up, visit the Plateaupians for Peace Facebook page or email plateaupians@gmail.com. The Women’s March will begin at 10 a.m. at Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park, located at 1635 11th Ave.

The Seattle Women’s March has also been called the Womxn’s March to demonstrate the fact that marchers were standing up for the rights of many different marginalized groups.

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