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Beyond the Ballot Box: NC Women Join Weekend Marches

Thousands are expected in Raleigh on Saturday for the Raleigh Women's March, a sister event of the Women's March on Washington. (James Willamor/Flickr)
Thousands are expected in Raleigh on Saturday for the Raleigh Women's March, a sister event of the Women's March on Washington. (James Willamor/Flickr)
January 20, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. - A movement that grew into a global event in just 10 weeks is promising to make its mark on North Carolina and its populace this weekend.

The Women's March on Washington has inspired sister events in 14 North Carolina cities, from Burnsville to Wilmington. More than 1.3 million women have pledged to march worldwide.

Tara Romano, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said the women she's meeting are choosing to march in their home state for more than just convenience.

"A lot of folks felt like they wanted to be here," she said, "in part because they wanted to also share that our struggle is not just at the federal level in D.C., but also with what's been going on in North Carolina."

Specifically, marchers feel many groups were insulted and threatened during the recent election cycle and that human rights may be at risk with an incoming administration that seemed to encourage it. The marches are calling for reproductive freedom, worker's rights and civil rights for people of all backgrounds and sexual orientations, and an end to violence against women.

Activism is nothing new to Sarah Moncelle, one of the organizers of the Raleigh Women's March. She said she's been reinvigorated by the women who are new to this type of civic engagement.

"It does feel good to sort of stand up and say, 'You're going to have to listen to me because I have a voice and I have an opinion and it's just as valid'." she said. "So, as frustrated as I am about the political landscape right now, I personally am drawing a lot of empowerment from the process of organizing, the process of being involved as an activist."

At the Raleigh March and others, Romano said, groups such as NARAL will be reaching out to this new crop of activists in hopes that their commitment will continue past Saturday.

"So, you've got this energy and you don't know where to put it," she said. "There's some really great organizations that have been involved in this struggle for a long time, and they're really doing great work on the ground with lots of different communities. And so, we want to make sure that in the Raleigh March that we're tagging people into those different organizations."

More information about the events is online at WomensMarch.com.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC