So you're planning to participate in a mass demonstration for women this inaugural weekend. Congratulations, you've just affirmed you're a living, breathing human female. Even though you can demonstrate all over the country, if you're planning to hit up the OG (Washington) here's everything you'll need to know.
First things first: what kind of activist is your flavor of activist? Considering the march was born out of a Hawaiian grandmother's Facebook status, it's gearing up to be a pretty impressive event. In fact, it's poised to be the largest inaugural demonstration in history. Although the protest was definitely intended to denounce the hate speech and minority marginalization that Trump successfully campaigned on, it's important to remember this protest is both peaceful and not explicitly anti-Trump. You may bring signs of course, but sticks and backpacks/large bags will not be permitted. Time to pull out that fanny pack from festival season, kids.
If you're pretty damn keen to reject the president-elect and are looking for something to get a little more extreme, you can hit up groups like ANSWER or DisruptJ20. DisruptJ20 will not be following the police-approved route to, if possible, shut down the day's celebrations. DisruptJ20 will gather at 10:00am at McPherson Square Park and intend to "disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear." If this sounds like a bit of you, make sure you know all your rights as a protester, back to front. PAPER has everything you can expect here.
NB: Your backpack will be allowed if it's made of clear/uncoloured plastic and no bigger than 17"x 12"x 6", otherwise open totes and small purses work best. For more info on bag specifics, Women's March has the juice here.
Where/when/how long? If all goes to plan, you will be among an expected 200,000 others meeting at 10am on the 21st near the U.S. Capitol (at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW) and you're going to head right on down Independence Avenue. Here's a map, my sweets.
Unfortunately, if you're coming to D.C. to recreate some serious Forrest Gump 60s protest vibes, you should know the blessed Presidential Inauguration Committee, has secured Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for their festivities. Sorry for your loss.
Also important: the route will not be modified for disabled marchers, but if you need to rent a mobility scooter/wheelchair/etc. you can click here to download the Women's March disabled resources guide.
Getting around? The D.C. metro, much like the tube in London, runs on various coloured lines and does not necessarily tell you exactly which street/intersection you will exit at. Once you've sussed where your bus or train will arrive in the city, take a good freaking look at this bad boy. Otherwise the march's National co-chair Tamika Mallory had this to say:
"Take the Yellow or Green Lines to L'Efant Plaza, Orange and Blue Line to Federal Center SW, Red Line to Judiciary Square, or Amtrak or Commuter Rail to Union Station. Walk toward the National Mall. There will be signs everywhere."
Also if you're definitely going to need to take the metro, purchase your SmarTrip in advance so you don't have to deal with lines. One day pass is 100% recommended, though NOT a one day inauguration pass which is only valid for the day prior to the march.
How to dress! What to bring! Layers, my friends. Layers. While the weather this Saturday is not expected to drop below 44 degrees, it's always good to come prepared for extreme cold. It's January. Also rain may very much be a possibility, so dress accordingly: waterproof shoes, raincoat etc, definitely no umbrella though (see: no sticks). Better to be safe than sorry am I right?
Bring water, snacks, any medication you might need, basic first aid equipment, money (for food and drink) and a portable phone charger (if you have one). These will make your march experience as pleasant as possible, so here's a comprehensive lil list. Also advised is a bandana, which if you moisten it with water and cover your eyes and mouth, will protect you from breathing in tear gas. Which definitely shouldn't be a thing, but again, just in case.
It shouldn't get too hectic, but if it does how do you prepare? Definitely go with a friend, or at least try find a buddy when you get there. Organizers toldThe Cut that marchers can sign up online to groups like Amnesty so you're guaranteed to have someone looking out for you. Always have a contingency plan with your posse if things get crazy. Also don't go there with counter protesters, it's recommended by the event to avoid engaging at all costs (i.e. they're like crazy enough even unprovoked).
Also, expect a heavy police presence. This is Trump, security is not likely to be taking any chances. If things get out of hand and tear gas is involved, be prepared with your bandana and make sure to wear your glasses not contacts (tear gas can get in between the eye and contact and cause additional irritation). Get medical assistance immediately, there will be help on hand along the route.
Wanna stay over? If you're coming from New York, try your best to make a day trip. With accommodation running out fast (Airbnb has reported record bookings) this will take a little pressure off the city. If that's totally unfeasible, or you're coming from anywhere else in the country, DisruptJ20 organisers are offering mass housing for up to 1000 people. Otherwise there are closed Facebook groups filled with locals who want to contribute couches and spare beds to help out, as well as on Marchmatch. Or you could just hit up Tinder, it worked for these dudes.