Why They March
In the cold morning fog, 17,000 people of all ages, races, religions, genders and sexualities marched from the City Plaza to Moore Square, flooding the streets of Downtown Raleigh. The protest was a sister march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington—one of 13 such sister marches in North Carolina and one of 673 in the world.
Originally planned only as a sidewalk march, the protest broke all expectations in its attendance. The crowd “fill[ed] up all lanes of traffic” and led police to close roads, according to Jess Clark, reporter for WUNC in Raleigh. (Read her interview here.)
Organized on broad principles of democracy, equality and progress, the march drew a diverse range of topics, indicated by signs like “Black Lives Matter,” “Climate Change Science Is Real” and “No to DeVos, No to Sessions.” But it was clear the march was mainly focused on two issues: the need for women’s rights, and the incoming administration’s rhetoric on women.
“I march because everything going on is counter to what we believe in,” one protester on Fayetteville Street said. “I believe in women’s rights and human rights and general reproductive rights, and I want to serve as an example for the youth, because our president is not setting a good example right now.”
The march soon converged into a rally, and the entire Moore Square park filled within minutes. Amid chants of “Love trumps hate” and “One country, one people,” a body artist, with a rainbow beanie and a painting kit, offered to redo editor Samantha Baker’s LGBTQ+ flag face paint. And as she drew the same on editor Sam Kim, she explained why she decided to march today.
“Because I’m a woman, and this is a woman’s march. I want women to have equal pay and the same basic rights as men. I want women to be CEOs and raise children at the same time and be able to have happy families,” she said.
Happi Adams, high school English teacher and Durham Academy alumna of ’06, succinctly explained her reasoning. “Because it’s worth it.”
The crowd began to disperse at around noon. The following day, its parent march on Washington has since launched a campaign, called “10 Actions for the First 100 Days,” to continue the movement beyond the march date of January 21. For more information about the campaign, visit www.womensmarch.com/100.