While controversy swirls around Facebook's role in swaying the election thanks to a flood of fake news, no one, regardless of your particular take on this question, can deny the power of the social network when it comes to bringing together and organizing like minds. Pantsuit Nation is case in point.
The not-so-secret Facebook group has managed to amass nearly 4 million members in just a few short weeks, inspiring Hillary Clinton supporters with an outpouring of love, lighthearted personal anecdotes, and pictures—everything from little girls dressed as suffragettes to men wearing high heels at the polls. The group even got the attention of Secretary Pantsuit herself—Clinton gave a shout out to Pantsuit Nation in her gracious concession speech last week.
In Pantsuit Nation's stead have come more "secret" groups designed to give Hillary voters places to mobilize, including Pantsuit Nation Bay Area, which has grown to almost 17,000 members in less than a week, and Bridge Together Golden Gate. The latter closed group has emerged with over 5,000 members since its launch on Nov. 9th. It's aim: to stage a massive peaceful demonstration on Golden Gate Bridge on Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2017).
It all started when Mill Valley resident Lisa Sato-Wheaton floated the idea on her personal Facebook page. "I put out the message that if I could get 1,000 likes by the end of the day, I would do this," says Sato-Wheaton, CEO of Satoriteller, a production design studio based in Sausalito. "As it began gaining momentum, in just a few short hours, our entire team decided we wanted to take this on together and make it happen."
Already the team has filed for an Expressive Use Permit to occupy the pedestrian lanes of the GGB and, under the guidelines of the National Parks, "we definitely qualify," says Sato-Wheaton, who expects the request to be approved. In its application, her team planned for approximately 2,700 attendees (the bridge is about 2,700 meters, so they're allowing one meter of arm span per person). "However, when we submitted our permit, we had no idea how big this would get... Once we have our permit, we will fully open our invitation and contact other media and like-minded organizations. If we need to, we will amend our permit (once we have it approved)."
While turnout remains uncertain, Sato-Wheaton is clear on one point: Bridge Together is not a protest, and there will be no blocking of traffic on the bridge that day. She explains via email to 7x7:
"There is so much negativity out in the world right now, and understandably so; however, our goal is not a protest of the outcome of the election, but rather a moment to come together and show the world that love trumps hate, that unity is stronger than division, and that we will never give up. We chose Inauguration Day because of the message it sends on what could be a bleak day for many of us. To be completely clear: This is not a protest. This is a peaceful gathering.
[Blocking traffic on the bridge] would be an oppositional stand and only perpetuate the anger, division, and negativity. We want to stand together, whether one is driving, standing with us, or watching us around the world, as a symbol of the power of unity and peaceful demonstration. We want to show the world that we are still a beacon of Democracy for all people, regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, immigration status, and religion."
Want to participate? You'll no doubt be receiving a Facebook invitation soon. If you would like to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.