What to Know About Attending the Women’s March on Washington
The misogyny, hateful rhetoric, and disturbing social policy changes promoted by the President Elect of the United States are prompting one of the country’s largest women’s travel events to unfold. On January 21, 2017, the day after Inauguration Day, thousands of women and women’s rights supporters will head to Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington. In conjunction with the DC March, there will be simultaneous marches in major cities all across the United States.
As of writing this, the Women’s March on Washington – National Facebook Page lists 143,000 people attending, and another 231,000 interested in attending. The local Denver March in my home state of Colorado has a current tally of 11,000 marchers and 22,000 more people citing interest in attending.
The National March was originally planned to be held at the Lincoln Memorial, however the National Park Service has not issued a permit for that location. The website for the Women’s March on Washington – National states that a location has now been finalized, and the march will begin near the Capitol, at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW.
The mission statement on the National website declares the march “will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
If you are planning to head to the National March in DC, be aware that with this many people traveling at the same time, it is imperative to carefully research your travel arrangements, team up with other marchers, and get creative when seeking out accommodations.
Although travel logistics may be difficult, they are minor compared to the challenges Americans may face in the near future, as we are confronted with the unraveling of many cherished principles, rights, and freedoms.
A current search on Google Flights for a non-stop fare January 20-22 from Denver to DC on United is $515 for a redeye flight, whereas a non-stop flight on Frontier from Denver to Philadelphia is listed for $137. Flying from Denver into Baltimore initially appeared to be a reasonable alternative, however fares have increased dramatically over the past few weeks. Spirit Airlines seems to still have some deals, albeit with long layover stops. Searching Southwest Airlines, Frontier, Kayak, Skyscanner or other consolidators will probably be your best bet to find reasonable airfares from your location. Expedia is currently offering some reasonable bundled deals in Philadelphia including a Doubletree hotel and round trip non-stop flight from Denver for $388 on January 20-22. The trick will be getting to DC from there.
As you are booking plane tickets, also search Amtrak, Megabus, Greyhound, local transit lines, and march site carpools to make sure you have a way to travel from your chosen airport to DC. Amtrak fares are almost sold out from Philadelphia, so a three and a half hour Greyhound bus ride might be your best bet. Some commuter lines, including MARC from Baltimore to DC don’t offer full schedules on the weekends, so be sure to plan around this. As many transit options will leave you at Union Station in DC, you should also plan a walking or subway route to the march site near the Capitol.
Another great option is to look for crowd-sourced buses chartered exclusively for the March. Rally buses will have direct round trip transportation from many major cities across the country, along with the added benefit of allowing you to catch a nap in your bus seat instead of paying for a hotel bed.
Most DC hotels are already booked for the Inauguration the day before the march, and are charging outrageous prices for any remaining rooms. Seek out hotels in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or DC suburbs, scour Airbnb and VRBO, connect with other marchers, or look up that distant cousin or old roommate in the DC area.
Cities across America will be holding simultaneous local marches for people unable to travel to DC. A look at ‘Sister Marches’ on the Denver March site currently shows 26 states holding simultaneous local marches, with additional marches planned in eight countries across the globe.
Check out your local Women’s March Facebook Page, “Women’s March on Washington – [city] or [state]” to find someone to share lodging expenses with. As a show of solidarity and support, some marchers are opening up their homes to others needing accommodation. Be sure to check out housing shares and carpools on State Chapter or City Facebook Pages or look into shared housing on March bnb.
The misogyny, hateful rhetoric, and disturbing social policy changes promoted by the President Elect of the United States are prompting one of the country’s largest women’s travel events to unfold.
State chapter Facebook pages provide pertinent information including carpool lists, housing shares, volunteer sign ups, connections to local marchers, helpful regional travel sites, and links to donate funds for travel assistance to others. I found the Colorado Chapter Facebook page to be full of helpful information related to traveling to Washington, DC.
Cheetah McClellan decided to organize the Women’s March on Washington-Denver when she realized that traveling to DC would be cost-prohibitive for her family, and for many marginalized people who wanted to be represented and have their voices heard. McClellan expressed that while it was important to have a large presence in DC, not everyone has the means to travel, and it “doesn’t matter where you march, but that you do march”. Although billed as a Women’s March, she was quick to say that the march welcomes everyone interested in protecting the rights of women and other marginalized populations, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, age, or ethnicity.
Finally, the political atmosphere that prompted the Women’s March will be in full play during Inauguration weekend. The March is intended and expected to be a peaceful event. However, women should take the usual basic security precautions, such as traveling with others, staying aware of their surroundings, sharing their itineraries with friends or family members, and naming a designated meeting place away from the crowds. Before you go, think about how you might peacefully disengage from confrontation should the need arise, and research how to be an effective ally to anyone experiencing harassment.
Although travel logistics may be difficult, they are minor compared to the challenges Americans may face in the near future, as we are confronted with the unraveling of many cherished principles, rights, and freedoms. With adversity comes opportunity, however, and the National and local Women’s Marches across the United States will provide an opportunity for people to come together peacefully and be heard.
When asked what she had learned from organizing the Denver March, McClellan answered that she was no longer afraid, felt hopeful for the first time, and that “people were awesome”. On January 21st and every day after, we have the opportunity to send a clear message to the future administration that we will not tolerate the erosion of hard won human rights for women and other marginalized populations. Let’s stand up, march on, and be awesome.