The Women’s March on Washington is happening today! At least 2.25 million are expected to participate. Whether you plan on joining the flagship Women’s March on Washington in our nation’s capital, or at one of the more than 600 sister marchers around the world, here is the information you need to know.
Know your marching route. Particularly if you are marching in an unfamiliar city, know the route of the March, and the areas where you are likely to encounter crowds both supportive, and possibly unsupportive. You can find a map of the D.C. march here; information on sister marches is here.
Plan ahead for public transportation/parking. Over 2.25 million marchers are expected to march today. In some cities, the number of marchers may place a strain on the city’s infrastructure, particularly on parking structures, buses and trains. Go to the city’s public transportation website to see if there are recommended options for marching day. If you do take public transportation, know the location of bus stops and/or train stations near the marching route, in case you need to leave early. If you are driving to the event, consider car-pooling, and make careful note of your vehicle parking space.
Dress appropriately. In choosing what to wear, many marchers focus on clothes conveying a message that they want heard. However, do not forget to look at the weather forecast for your march. Bring layers, and, if rain or snow is in the forecast, gear up. If you have a rain poncho, and there is ANY chance of rain, bring it. The most important thing is for you to be there, and stay there, so bring the clothes that will make you most comfortable, rain or shine.
Bring an appropriate bag. Particularly if you plan to march and protest for all or most of the day, it will be helpful to bring a number of items. Before selecting a bag, review the website of the organizers of your particular march to see if there are any “prohibited” bag types. For example, the Women’s March on Washington advises that “all bags may be subject to searches and that “backpacks are not permitted unless they are clear and no larger than 17”x12”x6” (colored transparent bags are not permitted).”
Bring snacks, water, and medicine to get you through the day. Once you have selected your bag, fill it with the items that will sustain you through the day. Energy bars, trail mix, and fruit are go-tos. If you are taking medication, consider bringing it along, if there is any chance the march might continue on until the time for taking it.
Bring your ID. It is recommended that you bring along your ID, as well as an index card with your basic information and the name and number of an emergency contact. If you have a lawyer, you might consider writing his or her name on the card as well. All this will ensure that, in the event of a disturbance or police encounter, you have the information you need.
Bring a Sign. Many marchers will want to bring signs to convey messaging. This is an important part of a protest march. Pro-tip: write your messaging on BOTH sides of the sign, to maximize the reach and effectiveness of your message.
Avoid trouble-makers. Given the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters, it is possible that you may encounter counter-protesters. Engage them if you want, but note that their primary purpose in being there is to draw attention away from your message, and possibly even to incite a reaction that they can use against the marching movement. Be smart, and always, be safe.
Know your rights. The right to protest is a constitutionally protected right. This primer by the ACLU has some helpful hints on how to exercise that right at the Women’s March on Washington, and on what to do if you face harassment or interference by law enforcement.
Read this helpful and comprehensive planning guide, composed by NYMag.com.
Most importantly, march(!), and make your voices heard!