If you are one of the more than 500,000 people who are expected to take to the streets of Washington, D.C. for the March for Our Lives on March 24th, there are some basic things you should know before you go.
The March For Our Lives Rally will take place on Saturday, March 24 on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. between 3rd street and 12th street NW. The Rally will begin at 12:00pm (noon). Along with the crowds arriving for the march, the Cherry Blossom Festival is also occuring at the same time. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure both your safety, and that your message is heard..
- If you plan on taking the Metro, know your stop (see map below) and arrive early as stations may be packed and lines may be long. You may be waiting an hour or more to get a spot on a train. Also note, every Metro rider (age 5 and up) needs his or her own SmarTrip card. To avoid long lines on March 24, purchase your SmarTrip card in advance from any Metrorail station, CVS Pharmacy or Giant Food stores. The Metro is doing everything possible to prepare for the large crowds and has a page with more information to try and help your trip flow smoothly.
- Wear comfortable shoes and enough layers so if the temperatures do not warm up, you will still be comfortable. Pack a rain poncho as there is the possibility of precipitation in the forecast. Some people recommend bringing a scarf or clean bandana, as in the unlikely event tear gas is used, holding a damp scarf to your nose can help you breathe.
- Fully charge your phone before the march and take a spare charging battery and charger. In case your phone dies, write emergency contact numbers on an index card or even your arm. If you are taking children, write an emergency number in Sharpe on their arm should you get separated.
- Be sure to bring ID, some cash, and a credit or debit card.
- If traveling with friends, decide a location and time where everyone can meet up if your group gets separated.
- Pack snacks, sandwiches and water. It is best to travel light. However, lines at food trucks and restaurants will be long.
- If making signs, note that wearable, foldable banners and signs smaller than 20’ x 3’ x ¼” will be allowed at the rally, but they can’t be mounted on wooden or metal poles. If you plan on checking out any of the museums in the area, you will not be allowed to take your signs in if they do not fit in your bag.
- Counterprotesters have First Amendment rights, too. As long as they are not physically interfering with the main demonstration, they can attend the event and speak out. The ACLU says Police will generally keep the two groups separated, and it’s best not to engage with counterdemonstrators.