Thousands march in Greensboro for women’s rightsBy Yasmine Regester / January 27, 2017
Downtown Greensboro was a sea of pink shirts and signs this weekend as thousands gathered to march in the Triad North Carolina Women’s March, part of the national effort, the Women’s March on Washington. The call to march to address women’s issues attracted millions marching in solidarity world-wide with more than 600 sister marches.
The march took place the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, on January 21, to decry Trump and his stance on issues such as abortion, healthcare, diversity and climate change. Crowd count reports from the Washington rally state participants exceeded 500,000 people at the National Mall.
Greensboro police estimate between 4,000 – 6,000 people participated in the local march that began at Governmental Plaza, where marchers walked up February One Place, down Elm Street, and ended at LeBauer Park. Reports from across the globe estimate more than one million people marched in the nation’s capital and cities worldwide. Other marches in North Carolina took place in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington, drawing tens of thousands.
Viola Fuller, a lifelong member of the Greensboro branch NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women noted that gender discrimination is something she has been fighting for a long time.
“We’re fighting discrimination. Women have been discriminated against for so long from wages to healthcare. And I will continue to advocate for equality and justice for all,” said Fuller.
The march drew people young and old and from other cities. Greensboro resident Sarah Smith brought her niece, Kali Smith, a student at Winthrop University in South Carolina.
“I made the trip to Greensboro today to stand up for women’s rights to our own bodies,” said Kali.
Southeast Guilford High School student, Jameson Andrews stood alongside his mother and sister holding a sign that read ‘I Stand In Support of Women.’
“I’m standing with the women. I’m standing for decency, respect and equality,” said Andrews.
Demonstrators crowded in the open park, standing shoulder to shoulder to hear from speakers and musicians there to offer words of encouragement.
Rev. Pam Strader of West Market Street United Methodist Church noted that anyone that witnesses an injustice has the power to bring it to someone’s attention.
“What a glorious sight. A beautiful collage of our community. We come together to proclaim that women’s rights are human rights and we are beautiful in all our diversity,” said Strader.
The march not only addressed women’s rights, but also accessible healthcare, racial and gender justice, voting rights, immigration, religious equality and LGBT rights.
“We are not here by chance or luck. Perhaps you and I are here for such a time as this. The election is over. It is time to get back to work. Your influence and advocacy can make a difference,” said Strader.
One of President Trump’s first actions in office was to reinstate former President Ronald Reagan’s “global gag rule,” which stops all federal funding from aiding non-governmental agencies that provide planned parenthood services, including abortion counseling, to the women in developing countries. Some people fear what could happen to women’s rights in the United States under a Trump presidency.
“When we come together we have power, we have a voice. We have to speak up and not allow our rights to be trampled on. It’s really beautiful to see the community standing together in unified opposition, in peace and love for one another,” said Greensboro resident Jennifer Schutlz.
Elizabeth Freeze, director of philanthropy for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Region noted that the march was not just about women’s health, but all the issues that unite people such as LGBT rights, economic equality, racial justice, voting rights and the environment.
“As an organization serving thousands of women, men and young people every day across this state and country, we know there are far more issues that unite us than divide us,” Freeze said. “And we will not be divided.”
The Rev. Diane Givens Moffett wrapped up the march with a rousing rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”
Contributions made during the march will be given in the name of the Women’s March to the organizations of Planned Parenthood, The Women’s Resource Center and Equality NC.