Thousands of people alarmed by the election of Donald Trump to the presidency sought comfort and community by joining hands in a loop of protest around Green Lake on Saturday.
Early Saturday afternoon, thousands of people alarmed by the election of Donald Trump sought comfort and community by joining hands in a loop of protest around Seattle’s Green Lake.
Teresa Kessenich-Chase, 35, a stay-at-home mother of three, said the presidential election result hit her hard.
“I sobbed for three days. I couldn’t eat or sleep,” she said.
Determined now to become more politically active, she said she’s found solace in joining the “Pantsuit Nation” women’s movement on Facebook that celebrates Hillary Clinton.
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Standing in the Green Lake circle, Kessenich-Chase held her 3-month-old in a baby carrier at her chest and a sign declaring “Racism, Misogyny and Xenophobia are non-starters with me.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick, 34, a marketing manager at a telecom company, brought his 3-year-old daughter, because he said he finds it “horrifying” that Trump will be the first president the girl will come to know.
“All presidents before him have had some level of service to this country,” he said. “He’s done nothing in any form except for himself.”
As the midday event unfolded amid rain and dark skies, people chatted with those who happened to be next in the line and made intermittent attempts to send a wave flowing along the loop of joined hands.
The circle was punctuated by protest signs and a few U.S. flags. Spots on the periphery were designated as drop-off points where protesters left goods for the homeless.
Modeled on a similar protest around Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., last Sunday, a Facebook event page asked participants to spend the first 15 minutes in quiet contemplation and then to let loose with “joyful sounds.”
Some clapped and cheered. A small group sang “Amazing Grace.”
Psychotherapist Anna Rhodes, who played the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on a handheld speaker, said the event should encourage people “to channel anger and pain into compassionate action.”
Many participants expressed a need to remain active as the Trump presidency plays out.
Asked what most concerned him about that prospect, John Larreau, 32, a higher-education administrator, said, “Where do I start? So much about him terrifies me.”
Holly Hidenrick, 43, an IT project manager there with her 12-year-old daughter Blue, said Trump’s attitude toward women has spurred her to become more active in the Seattle chapter of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” movement to work for equal pay.
The strung-out nature of the protest — the lake-looping path is 2.8 miles around — made it difficult to assess the size of the crowd.
Joe Tymczyszyn of Bellevue happened upon the scene by accident when he stopped to walk around the lake during the hour of the event.
He said afterward that though there were heavier concentrations of people near the parking lots, he saw stretches where the circle broke.
Based on Tymczyszyn’s unscientific estimate that the linked arms covered about 60 percent of the loop, and allowing for the larger clumps of people in some spots, at least 4,000 people must have joined the demonstration.