What I Saw of the 2018 Women’s March

in Chicago’s Grant Park

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Click on any of the photos above for a larger view.

Despite the beautiful weather, this year’s march was smaller than last year’s event. It may have been at most half the size, but that is still a sizeable event; last year was a monster.

Chicago DSA brought a few dozen to the march this year: more than last year.

Despite a considerable investment in stage, sound and TV, most of the program was inaccessible to attendees. It was carried live by Chicago’s community access cable network, so you may be able to pick up the archived recording at CANTV eventually.

Post script:

The organizers of the march are claiming that the turnout was larger than 2017. Maybe it was. Crowd sizes are always difficult to numerate. Plus, are you counting everyone who participated or just the maximum crowd size? But here is what I observed:

  1. In 2017, the Red Line CTA trains southbound from Howard were packed beyond capacity. People were actually taking trains north in hopes of finding a station where trains would have some space. This year, it was pretty much a normal rush hour, extraordinary for a Saturday morning but not like 2017. I saw no evidence that there were more trains on the Red Line. The CTA did announce more buses on Route 147 that parallels the Red Line, but I rather doubt that this did anything more than maintain the usual Saturday capacity by making sure there were at least a few buses that were not trapped down in Grant Park. The CTA did add cars to the Brown Line, at least, and maybe the other lines and Metra did add a few trains and and extra cars. I’m skeptical that any added capacity would have accounted for the difference in crowding if the turnout was actually greater than 2017.
  2. In 2017, it was very nearly impossible to navigate around the demonstration. It was that packed. Maybe this year had better logistics, but apart from the space directly in front of the stage and giant TVs, it was possible to navigate the park.
  3. Columbus Drive was reserved as far south as Balbo but occupied not quite as far south as Congress. I recall the 2017 event as larger.
  4. On the other hand, I left somewhere mid-program, before the actual march, and while I was not alone in leaving there were others (and more of them on Congress) still arriving.

So how big was it? {Shrug} You’ll have to decide yourself. Regardless of how big it was in relation to 2017, it was still really big.