Two rallies and a march are planned in Bellingham in response to Friday’s inauguration of billionaire reality TV star Donald Trump as U.S. president.
All three events were planned using social media, primarily Facebook, including the Womxn’s March on Bellingham, which starts with a 10 a.m. Saturday rally at City Hall, 201 Lottie St., that has organizers anticipating several thousand people. A march through downtown streets will start at 11 a.m., leaving from City Hall and returning an hour later. Speakers and a fair with information tables and food and beverage trucks will follow the march, from noon to 2 p.m.
“We’re marching to show our support for under-represented and marginalized groups,” said Erica Littlewood Work of Bellingham, one of the Saturday event organizers. “We expect as many as 3,000 to 5,000 people to attend.”
In addition to Saturday’s march, student walkouts are planned Friday afternoon at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. A Facebook page has details for Student Walkout at WCC #ResistTrump on Inauguration Day, scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at the Syre Student Center, 237 Kellogg Road. A Facebook page for WWU Student Walkout to #ResistTrump on Inauguration Day, says the walkout is scheduled from 2-4 p.m. at Red Square on the center of campus. About 1,000 people were invited via the Facebook page to the combined student events; fewer than 200 people have indicated definite plans to attend.
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Work cited Trump’s past remarks slighting women, minorities and people with disabilities as the focus of anger and concern. The Women’s March on Washington. D.C., planned for Saturday is expected to draw as many as 100,000 people to the nation’s capital and has spawned “sister marches” in cities across the U.S., including Seattle, Spokane and Bellingham.
She said the marches were planned primarily by women, but participants of all genders, nationalities and abilities are welcome – despite the catchy spelling of “womxn.”
“The march is for everyone,” Work said. “It will be the new administration’s first full day in office and it’s a show of support for groups that might face new challenges. They’ll be able to march and take that energy forward into change.”
Bellingham police Lt. Danette Beckley said the group has received permits for the march and rally and a traffic plan had been approved. Beckley said Commercial Street will be blocked from Girard to Central streets from 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m.
“The march will start and end in front of City Hall, going on Commercial to Chestnut to Cornwall and returning to City Hall,” Beckley wrote in an email outlining the city’s preparations. “Our traffic officers will be assisting with traffic and we have hired some extra officers to be assigned to help with any march-related issues that may come up so we won’t need to pull resources assigned to handle 911 calls for service.”
Work urged participants to walk, bicycle or use buses if possible, because such a large crowd is expected. Some 7,000 people were invited via social media, and more than 3,500 people have indicated they are attending. She said Lottie Street in front of City Hall will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday’s weather forecast calls for cloudy skies with a 50 percent chance of showers and a high temperature near 50 degrees.
Partner groups include Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, Brigid Collins center, the Opportunity Council/Volunteer Center, the Human Rights Task Force, Veterans for Peace and the YWCA.
Post-march speakers will include Kim Harris, a professional diversity trainer; Teizeen Mohamedali of Bellingham, a Muslim born in Kenya and graduate of WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment and Stanford University; Ceci Lopez, an attorney and assistant professor and director for the Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice at Fairhaven College at WWU; and Michelle Vendiola, a member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe of Nevada who lives on the Lummi Nation.
For those who want to wear the iconic pink “pussy hats” that have become associated with the nationwide protests, folks at Northwest Yarns in Bellingham had been making them for participants in the national march and now are directing their extra stock to local marchers. The hats are free, but patrons are asked to buy a ball of pink yarn to make more of the pointy-topped hats.
“I had a line out the door this morning for people who wanted them,” said co-owner Heather Seevers.
The hats are a response to Trump’s recorded remarks about grabbing women’s genitalia. The project’s co-founders want to take back the derogatory term “pussy” while infusing the traditionally feminine color of pink with strength in support of women’s rights, according to an Associated Press report.
Any extra hats will be distributed during the march and rally, Seevers said.
▪ WCC walkout noon-1 p.m. Friday, Syre Student Center
▪ WWU walkout 2-4 p.m. Friday, Red Square
▪ Womxn’s March, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Bellingham City Hall