Protests and politics: When was the last time Seattle felt this charged up?

Two weekends ago, Seattle saw the largest political march in our history. On Saturday, locals crowded Sea-Tac Airport to protest a federal refugee and immigration ban that shocked and scared a lot people. And yesterday, thousands rallied downtown in a second night of protests.

It feels like Seattle is charged up. Active. Electric. We asked Northwest native Knute Berger, a local author, historian, and columnist at Crosscut, when Seattle had felt like this in the past.

There were the World Trade Organization protests in 1999, when tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the city. “I’ll never forget that feeling, like a wave crashing,” Knute wrote via email. There were the anti-Vietnam War protests in May 1970, when Seattle students took to the streets, even blocking I-5. “It felt like a turning point,” he wrote.

As for today: “I think what has people amped is anxiety, worry,” Knute wrote. “I hardly know anyone who isn’t afraid and looking hard for hopeful signs, looking for a meaningful way forward. That’s part of the way forward, right?”

We hope so.

Seattle photographer Josh Trujillo, who was at Sea-Tac Airport Saturday and took the photo above, told us he was struck by the extent to which that unplanned protest brought out regular people.

“These were people so uncomfortable with the unfolding situation that they dropped whatever they were doing and headed for the airport as word got out,” he said.
Know of a specific way people can help each other during this anxious time? Let us know at [email protected], and check out this list of resources we’re updating.

By Mónica Guzmán
Mónica is the cofounder and editor of The Evergrey. She's been a Seattle journalist for a decade and adores this city.