600 attended an earlier rally at Cal Anderson Park with speakers including Sara Rich, mother of Suzanne Swift, an Iraq combat veteran who was sexually abused in her unit and has resisted re-deployment to Iraq; Sasha Summer Cousineau of Washington State NARAL; David Montgomery, a University of Washington professor speaking on Bush suppression of science; Judith Shattuck of Progressive Democrats of America; and Joan Berniard, a resident of New Orleans who survived Katrina and is organizing with Lagniappe Social Justice Caravan to bring residents dispersed by the government back to New Orleans.
There was music by local musicians Sharon Abreu, Marc Smason and Andy Davenhall.
Hundreds of students walked out of a score of high schools, colleges and middle schools. One school, Ida B. Wells, had their whole class of 30 students and teachers turn out for the student convergence. A march of over a hundred went in the morning from University of Washington campus to the main convergence, taking over the streets and marching through Seattle Central Community College.
At the end of the main march, people rallied for hours at the Federal building, with more speakers, music, poetry, and recordings from Olympia Dukakis, Mark Ruffalo and Sunsara Taylor. At the end of the evening people stayed around, strategized about next steps, got hooked up, helped pack up all the demo materials, and made plans for the WCW mass meeting. People filled a book with sentiments of why they had come out for the day and the urgency to stopping the Bush regime from so many creative and substantive angles.
One man from Tacoma said, “My mother was raised in Bremen Germany in the years leading up to WW II. I saw first hand the guilt she lived with due to what her country’s governement did. I saw how she lived the rest of her life with they psychological effects of war. Mom passed away in 2002, but I’m sure she would be proud of me for not repeating her mistakes. When 9/11 happened and the country was in a flag waving frenzy, I’ll never forget my mom remarking on how Bush reminded her of Hitler. Unfortunately she had not seen anything yet. Keep up the fight.”
There was a lot of press coverage by radio and print media leading up to and on the day, including a World Can’t Wait organizer on Ron Reagan’s show on KIRO radio, columns in the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, KUOW, Air America 1090 in Seattle, an Air America affiliate in San Diego, and other local press.
At the rally, three youth were jumped on and arrested in a provacative action by police, two are being released and one is being held on false charges of “suspicion of assault on a police officer”.