13 Ways To Prepare For The Women's March On Washington
With Donald Trump's inauguration just around the corner, it's time to start preparing for the Women's March on Washington if you're one of the thousands of people planning to attend. Two months ago, the march began as a simple Facebook page created by a retiree in Hawaii as a way to protest Trump's election to office. Since then, the event has exploded into a bona fide movement, with sister marches being organized across the world. According to the Washington Post, more than 100,000 people have registered to attend the protest on Jan. 21; indeed, it's expected to be the largest demonstration against Trump's presidency so far.
After some difficulties securing a permit, the Women's March on Washington has been scheduled to take place the morning after Trump's inauguration, with participants gathering not too far away from the U.S. Capitol. According to its website, the march's mission is to "send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights." Although its focus is on gender equality, the protester's organizers note that they support "advocacy and resistance movements that reflect... multiple and intersecting identities," so everyone is welcome at the protest.
If you're planning on attending the march — whether it's the main event in D.C. or a sister march in a different city — here are 13 ways to prepare.
1. Register With Operation Headcount
Considering the size of the protest, it's incredibly important for organizers to have an accurate headcount so they can make sure the march goes smoothly and safely. To register your presence, head over to the Women's March resources page, find the link to Operation Headcount, and fill out a quick survey.
2. Get Others To Do The Same
Once you've registered, share the page on social media to make sure other people who are planning on going add to the headcount as well.
3. Figure Out Transportation To D.C.
This close to the protest, it's time to start figuring out boring logistics. First up: How are you getting there? If you live outside the area, The Cut collected a list of ways to get to D.C., which you can check out here. The New York and Louisiana chapters of the Women's March have organized a bunch of buses to take people to the city, so check with your local chapter to see if they have similar plans. If not, you can purchase a train or bus ticket (if they're not sold out), consider carpooling, or rent a vehicle and drive yourself.
4. Register Your Bus
If you decide to rent a bus (yes, that's a thing you can do), make sure to register as a bus captain with the organizers.
5. Buy Your Metro Card
Once you get to D.C., you have to be able to get around. For those who like to plan ahead, you can purchase a SmarTrip card for D.C.'s public transportation system in advance online. It's worth noting that even if you drive to the city, you probably shouldn't drive to the protest itself. Parking isn't provided, and roads around the location are likely to be closed.
6. Find A Place To Stay
Most hotels in D.C. have been booked already, so you might need to find lodging in places outside the city. Otherwise, a group of people unaffiliated with the Women's March created MarchBNB, an app that connects protesters with people willing to provide housing for the weekend. If you still need a place to stay, download the app and see what you can work out.
7. Follow The March On Social Media
8. Check Out The Regulations
Like any official protest, there are plenty of regulations to keep things safe. According to the Women's March FAQ, items like backpacks, aerosols, firearms, pepper spray, and so on aren't allowed to the rally. The list is fairly extensive, so be sure to look through it beforehand.
9. Remember The Location
Make sure you know where the march is taking place. According to the event's website, the starting point for the Women's March in D.C. is the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW. Just in case it changes, though, check for updates as the date draws nearer. The route itself hasn't been announced yet for security reasons.
10. Pack For The Weather
Winter weather is notoriously unpredictable, and D.C. can be particularly cold. Keep an eye on the city's weather when you're packing, and remember that you'll be outside for an extended period of time. Basically, bring lots of warm clothes and layers, and whatever you do, don't forget comfy shoes.
11. Bring A Portable Phone Charger
If your phone tends to die within a few hours, consider bringing a portable charger. The last thing you want is to get separated from your group and find out your phone is dead.
12. Find Sister Protests
13. Connect With Other Protesters
Finally, remember the number-one rule of your childhood: Find a buddy and stick to them like glue. If the event is as massive as organizers anticipate, there will be hundreds of thousands of protesters marching through the streets of D.C. — which is awesome, but it's also important to stay safe in crowds that large. The best way to do that is through the buddy system.
If you don't personally know anyone attending the protest, find your local chapter of the Women's March and see if you can join up with some other people. Now get out there and show the world that our voices won't be silenced.