Thousands of people flood downtown streets in Women's March on Bellingham
The Women’s March on Bellingham joined dozens of other marches around the nation with crowds larger than expected. Bellingham Police estimate a crowd “in the thousands.” Lt. Bill Slodysko, a 34-year department veteran, said it was the largest march he’s seen.
“So many people marched in Bellingham today that when we reached the end of the 1.1 mile march, there were still people lined up to stay marching,” according to Selah Tay-Song on her Facebook account. “And, a rainbow appeared overhead! Stay strong, America. Witnessing the solidarity today gave me hope for the future.”
Marchers left City Hall about 11:30 and it took about 40 minutes for the last marcher to leave City Hall. A steady stream of people carrying signs were seen on downtown streets as the walked from Commercial, to Chestnut to Cornwall and back to City Hall. Horns and cheers were heard for blocks downtown.
“This is incredible! I’m not even at the end, and have barely moved! The energy here is amazing,” organizers posted on the Women’s March Bham Twitter account.
Organizers estimated 5,000 attended, but marchers’ Facebook posts claimed 6,000 to 10,000.
Sandra Gibbs wrote on her Facebook account: “This was a smaller march than Washington DC, but way bigger than the organizers thought would be achieved. We were blown away by the diversity of ages, gender, majority and minority groups represented, and the SIGNS were incredible!!! Before we came we were terrified and depressed. We leave more empowered and stable. Bellingham, you rocked our world today!”
“There were thousands of people taking part of the march in Bellingham. I am so proud to be an American and I am even more proud to be a woman today,” Cierra Dandilion Morris wrote on Facebook.
John Mason, on his Facebook account, wrote: “I am proud of Bellingham. 10,000-plus came together this morning. Women, men, children, old and young gathered and then marched for women's rights, human rights, healthcare, minorities, diversity, our planet, and, most importantly, love over fear-anger. Carrying signs and being part of the voice for tolerance and support for ALL the people. It took more than an hour for the crowd to even start the March. My photo shows only a small fraction of the community which showed up to stand together. Blessings and thanks to all who showed and for those of who could not attend but support all fellow travelers. Peaceful but not without resolve.”
The march through downtown streets ended with a fair with information tables and food and beverage trucks.
“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.”
Attendee Nancy Nelson, 54, of Bellingham said, “I’ve never protested, if you will, in my life that I can recall. And I just feel really strongly that this is an important cause. I’m actually hopeful that events like this will bring our country together instead of separate us.”
On Twitter, Megannnnn (@meganlaughing) wrote: “I will not be left standing on the sidelines of history. #womensmarchbham.”
On Facebook, Christine Schonewald Green posted “From Bellingham, WA – just one of the small towns! A grain in an avalanche, a plea for human rights, equal rights, civil rights, compassion and humanity. Women and all ask you to join. Wear a safety pin! Look up – the pin symbolizes that go beyond today in our values and personal endeavors that brings our adolescent culture forward.”
Charlie Heggem posted a photo of his family at the march and wrote on his Facebook account: “Venture to say this was one of the most important marches Bellingham has seen. Important time for us all. Important time for us all to reflect. Important time for us all to keep our chins up. Important time for us all to better understand where, why and how we live. Important time to guide our upcoming generations so they have a say...and a future. Important time to bear hearts...not bear arms. Important time for us all to believe and hope even if in the crosshairs of hate. Important time for us all.”
This story will be updated.