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Thousands Expected at Saturday's Raleigh Women's March

This year, 46 women serve in the North Carolina General Assembly, the most ever. Nationally, the current Congress is the most female and racially diverse in U.S. history. (Women's March On Raleigh)
This year, 46 women serve in the North Carolina General Assembly, the most ever. Nationally, the current Congress is the most female and racially diverse in U.S. history. (Women's March On Raleigh)
January 25, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. – Tomorrow, thousands are expected to march in Raleigh to restore justice after a year of what they call "regressive federal and state policies" for women and families.

Organizers want the public to know the Raleigh Women's March is unaffiliated with the national Women's March events last weekend, which some believe lacked inclusion and infringed on MLK Day activities.

The Raleigh march theme is "Women United for Justice." Organizer and Co-Emcee Ashley Popio says it will celebrate the recent wave of women elected to office, and hold state lawmakers accountable for changing policies that keep women in North Carolina earning, on average, $8,600 a year less than men.

"I think it's both a celebration and cause to action,” says Popio. “Women have not yet achieved equality, and we haven't had equality for hundreds and hundreds of years. And boy, it sure would be nice to get start on that, don't you think?"

The rally will include a dozen women, speaking on such issues as voting rights, sexual assault, paid family leave, education, immigration and inclusion of the transgender community.

Lily Levin, a high school student and a march organizer, says she's become more politically active due to issues such as gun violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic violence involving a gun increases a woman's chance of death five times, and gunshots are the second-leading cause of death for American children.

Levin says her generation sees the importance of including younger voices in the gun-law debate and the women's movement.

"The intersectionality inherent within my generation and the movements that we're leading, in terms of gun reform and climate change,” says Levin, “I think it's just really essential to have voices and to make sure, like, I am uplifting voices of people who might not look like me or think like me."

The march starts at 12:30 p.m. at Halifax Mall in Raleigh. The rally begins at 2 p.m. at the legislative building at 16 West Jones Street.

Learn more about the march and rally at 'raleighwomensmarch.org,' or follow the event live on Facebook.

Antionette Kerr, Public News Service - NC