Heidi Hill expected 200 people to show up when she advertised the Women’s March and Labyrinth Walk in Richland.
She and fellow organizers Shannon Hays-Truex and Gayle Wilde counted more than 1,000 people when the event started Saturday at John Dam Plaza.
Hill pointed out the line of people stretching down George Washington Way and looping around to Jadwin Avenue.
“We did very little marketing, other than the Facebook event,” Hill said. “There were Democrats and Republicans here, pledging to work together on the issues represented on the signs today.”
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It was the same in Yakima, where an organizer predicted 150 people would show, but roughly 1,000 took to the streets.
“We are women, we are here — and everyone deserves equal rights and justice,” organizer Susan Kaphammer said following the march.
Roughly 2,000 people took to the streets in Walla Walla to participate in a sister march. The 30-minute march may have been the largest in the city since a protest about the war in Iraq.
Across the country, people turned out to express concerns about bigotry, misogyny, health care and human rights, the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president.
The events were sister marches to Women’s March on Washington, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to the nation’s capital.
There were Democrats and Republicans here, pledging to work together on the issues represented on the signs today.
Heidi Hill, organizer
At John Dam Plaza, Hays-Truex, the owner of Labyrinth in a Bag, stood near the rope pathway she created in the shape of the women’s gender sign. The national march inspired her to create a labyrinth.
When she spoke with other women about the event, Hill proposed registering it as a sister march, and posted it to Facebook.
“I am so thrilled with the turnout,” Hays-Truex said. “This is more than I had imagined.”
Marchers ranged in age from young to elderly. In her remarks to the crowd, Wilde, who participated in marches for the Equal Rights Amendment, pointed to a sign that expressed surprise about the need to continue protesting for women’s rights.
Similar signs were scattered throughout the crowd, with messages such as “Love trumps hate” and “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”
Kennewick resident Kay Sisson brought a sign asking for the return of decency. She said the president’s insulting behavior toward people with disabilities, Latinos and others is indecent.
“It’s disrespect for the human soul,” she said. “It’s a real important time to make our voices heard. I’m so proud of the Tri-Cities for coming out like this.”
This shows me that we’re a real group. We’re a force
Kay Sisson, participant
The march proves Democrats in the Tri-Cities don’t need to be afraid to voice their opinions, Sisson said.
“This shows me that we’re a real group,” she said. “We’re a force.”
Kennewick resident Christine Brown carried a sign urging people to express their concerns about possible changes to the health care system to Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima.
She listed the number for the congressman’s office on the sign, and said she wanted people to remind him that he represents all of the people in the Fourth District.
“I’m fearful that all of the advances that have been made in the last 30 or 40 years are going to melt away,” Brown said, including losing Planned Parenthood, the Affordable Care Act and access to birth control.
Brown was delighted by the turnout, but wasn’t surprised.
“There are a lot of people here in the Tri-Cities who believe these same things,” she said. “I’m not alone, and this is a wonderful way to demonstrate that and show it.”
The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Yakima Herald-Republic contributed to this story.