Lazy protesters! You exist, and this is for you! You can still get to D.C. from Brooklyn for the protest this Saturday even if you don’t have an Amtrak ticket or a fancy hotel room. Here’s a guide to getting there, staying there, and what you should remember to bring.
Before that, a little history and few clarifications.
The march is not just for white ladies, although the evolution of the march suffered a series of growing pains that alienated everyone, including white ladies.
The original name for this protest, Million Women March, appropriated the name of a 1997 march by and for black women which was organized in response to white feminists ignoring the concerns of people of color (ouch) and a 1995 march named Million Man March, which was organized by and for black men. The name was changed and leadership, which started with white female co-founders, grew: the primary fundraiser is now Linda Sarsour, an Arab American organizer with Palestinian roots. Other primary leaders (listed as National Co-Chairs) include Tamika Mallory, who worked closely with the Obama Administration on civil rights issues, in particular on gun control, and Carmen Perez, the Executive Director of Harry Belafonte’s nonprofit, The Gathering for Justice, and a longtime vocal opponent of mass incarceration.
Sarsour told The Guardian, “Some people think we are tokens, but I’m not just a pretty Muslim face—we’re leading this together.” She joined the campaign the Friday after Trump was elected.
Men are welcome. And don’t let Jonathan Chait’s twitter wailing confuse you; despite his assertion that a more welcoming and general name would draw more protesters, this march is set to be the largest in our nation’s history.
If you’re curious what the protest stands for, exactly, read this manifesto the march organizers released last Thursday. BUST called it “radical AF.” It’s a progressive platform and includes issues ranging from healthcare, gun control, transgender rights, and immigrant rights to the universal right for clean air and water.
Now! Some resources to get you to the Women’s March on Washington, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 21. The official rally point is at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street, near the capitol.
RIDES + LODGING
Amtrak trains and commercial buses from New York are mostly sold out on Friday and Saturday. If you can miss work and stay with a friend, earlier tickets are still available.
The Women’s March site provides a transportation hub listing buses, and at this point 412 are leaving New York City. I didn’t receive a response when I contacted a bus organizer through this system, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
MarchMatch is an incredible resource. Within an hour, I found a ride from my neighborhood in Brooklyn to D.C. with “two best friends.” You can post what you need (place to stay, ride, or other support) or post that you’re available to help. You can also donate money to people who can’t afford the trip.
Good old Craigslist Rideshare is full of offerings for rides to D.C.
Check with your alma mater to see if they’re setting a particular meeting point or organizing transportation or lodging. If you attended one of the seven sisters, check out this Facebook group.
Airbnb still has some availability, but it’s not cheap.
All Souls Unitarian Universalist church organized a bed & breakfast system that has since filled up; they’re still hosting a warm-up after the march for any Unitarian Universalist marchers from 5 p.m. — 6:45 p.m.
City Fitness Gym, located in Cleveland Park, is opening their space to women on Friday night. It’s cute! They’re calling it a sleepover. For the cost of a day pass ($80) you’ll get a pillow, a blanket, and a spot to sleep.
DisruptJ20 will focus on inauguration day protests, but their site offers to connect protesters with places to stay (mostly on church floors).
If you can’t find a place to stay in D.C., consider going halfway home—to Philadelphia—and staying there. A few bus tickets are still available.
THINGS TO BRING & THINGS TO LEAVE AT HOME
Pack a portable phone charger.
Bring a double-sided protest sign. Snark not required.
Don’t bring a backpack; they’re not allowed unless they’re clear or really small!
There’s a 30% chance of rain for Saturday. You’ll hopefully be holding a sign, so don’t bring an umbrella—a plastic poncho makes way more sense. It’ll get up to 55 degrees during the day and 40 at night, so layer up.
Write down all the details you need—where you’re staying, your friends’ phone numbers—and keep it on an index card in case you’re separated. You should also decide on a meeting place and time in case everything goes to hell.