It has been said that Washington, DC is now the capital of political dissent. There have been scores of marches and political demonstrations since ‘45 was inaugurated. If you are organizing a political event, you may be asking yourself: where do I stage my event?
Of course, the where should be influenced by what it is you are protesting. A DC Middle School might be a dull place on most days, but if Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is heading there, then it becomes the ideal place to protest her cabinet position. Context is always key, but for those of you that are having “activist’s block,” here is a list of go-to locations for your peaceful protests:
10. The National Rifle Association DC Lobbying Office
410 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003
You would be hard-pressed to find a lobbying group that has had more of an impact on the political discourse than the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has donated millions to both Republican and Democratic candidates. It gave over $20 million to political candidates in 2016 alone to build a wall, if you will, against the passage and implementation of any gun control legislation.
Whether you want to protest the latest act of gun violence or the culture of intense political partisanship this organization helped build on the right, the NRA’s Capitol Hill lobbying office offers the perfect place to stage it (pro tip: the entrance is under the green awning in the alleyway, under the number "410" -- not in the office building next door).
9. The Breitbart “Embassy”
210 A St NE, Washington, DC 20002
The far-right propaganda outlet Breitbart “news” has had a profound impact on our political discourse. The former executive chair of the organization, Steve Bannon, had a large amount of input on Donald Trump’s messaging during his 2016 campaign, and has since been appointed 45’s Chief Strategist.
Located in Capitol Hill, Breitbart’s DC headquarters have been nicknamed “The Breitbart Embassy” because they are a constant hotbed for conservative gatherings, including a lavish after-party for the Conservative Political Action Committee’s annual conference.
8. Republican National Committee
310 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is the political organization that provides national leadership for the Republican Party. This organization sets the GOP’s platform - i.e. the stuff it purports to care about - and also provides electoral and fundraising support to republican candidates running for office. They are as close as you are going to get to the symbolic head of the Republican party.
7. Mitch McConnell's House
217 C St NE, Washington, DC 20002
He’s the Senate Majority leader, and he lives a stone’s throw from the Senate Office Buildings (and the Capitol building itself). With a solid majority in both houses of Congress, chances are this guy is going to be trying to pass some legislation you do not agree with.
His wife, Elaine Chao, is also Secretary of Transportation, so plenty to protest all around.
Why not tell them how you really feel in person? Protest outside their million dollar home and stuff their mailbox with angry protest letters and glitter. Because you can never have enough glitter.
6. Trump International Hotel
1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC has already been mired in controversy. Were ambassadors attempting to curry favor by staying there? Did Sean Hannity really spend $42,000 on food service at one of its restaurants?
Located in downtown DC, the Trump International Hotel is a symbol of ‘45’s presidency. It epitomizes his brand as well as his refusal to create a firm separation between his business interests and his privileged position as President.
5. Mike Pence’s House
1 Observatory Cir NW, Washington, DC 20008
Mike Pence is a whole ‘nother type of awful. While Donald Trump is how Ayn Rand’s Francisco d'Anconia would actually behave if given enough power, Mike Pence is more in the realm of Commander Fred in the Handmaid’s Tale. He embodies the worst aspects of Christian Fundamentalism. He won’t talk to any other women 1:1 besides his wife, unless she, herself, is present, and hates the LGBTQ+ community with an ignorant passion.
If you want to take a stand against the Future Commander in Chief of Gilead (that’s the country in Handmaid’s tale -- why have you not read the book?), then might I suggest staging a protest outside his lovely residence located near the Naval Observatory. It’s a hike, but the view of fire and brimstone is to die for...literally.
4. Ivanka Trump’s House
2449 Tracy Pl NW, Washington, DC 20008
Ivanka Trump is like that person you went to high school with, who says she’s going to stop her crazy, maniacal father from dismantling the country, but really just wants to promote her clothing line. She has been labeled by many outlets as a moderating influence on her father, despite there being no evidence to suggest this.
Ivanka has chosen to live in the upscale Kalorama neighborhood. Send a signal that her complicitness is not okay by protesting outside her fancy townhouse.
3. Paul Ryan’s Office
1233 Longworth Hob, Washington, DC 20515
House Speaker Paul Ryan has been portrayed as the wonkish numbers guru of the GOP establishment. Despite no significant legislation passing during his tenure as Speaker, and the nonsensicality of the legislation he’s tried to pass, this image has more or less persisted.
His office is the perfect place to stage a sit-in or a human blockade. In the early days of his career, he slept there, and is rumored to still do so from time to time.
2. The Steps of The Capitol
East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004
The image of assembling outside the Capitol steps is meme-worthy in of itself. Whether you are launching a weeklong protest against the Republican Party's attempt to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or fighting to preserve social security, a protest here tells legislators that you are watching them.
1. In Front of The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500
You can’t beat a classic. The White House is currently the symbol of Trump’s Presidency. If you manage to stuff Lafayette Square with protesters, the optics can be awe-inspiring -- just mind the barricades. They seem to take their time taking them down nowadays. Wonder why.
Note that if your protest will include 25 or more people, and especially if it’s anywhere near the National Mall, or any land operated by the National Park Service, you may want to consider getting a permit for you protest -- it’s not as hard as you might think, and helps you with things like closing roads if you’re planning a particularly large protest, like the Women’s March and the Climate March (both of which were permitted). Check out this guide from the Washington Peace Center for more info: http://www.washingtonpeacecenter.org/permitprocess
If you are still searching for a place to protest, check out our ever-evolving list of potential protest sites using our specially-curated ConSpot DC Protest Site Map, below. And, as always: give a damn and get sh*t done!