Thousands protest for women’s rights in Winston-Salem
Thousands of people from across the Triad filled downtown Winston-Salem’s Corpening Plaza and city streets Saturday afternoon to stand up for women’s rights and equality. The rally was in conjunction with the millions of women who participated in the nationwide 2018 Women’s March on the Polls. Last weeks winter weather did not stop women, men and children of all ages from coming out and voicing their concerns about the current climate toward women across the country.
A concern that Greensboro resident Lindsey Grace shares and one that impacted her decision to come to the rally.
“We’ve been waiting long enough to be represented and right now North Carolina is misrepresented,” she said. “I believe in fair maps, and fair maps should happen now. We just want fair representation across the board so we’re here and we are showing up.” She said she hopes elected officials will start talking to constituents and hold town halls for the public.
The young mother brought her 3-year-old son, Gray, to the rally as an example.
“I wanted to show him what getting involved looks like. This a good starting point. Wherever he wants to go from here is up to him, but I hope it’ll be a good choice.”
The grassroots movement was designed to highlight the need for an equitable, tolerant, justice and safe America for all women to their elected representatives. It also promotes electing new representatives who will safeguard those liberties for women if those who are already seated will not.
Winston-Salem resident Betty Dillard brought her granddaughter Anesu Nyakudya out to Saturday’s rally.
“Women need to know that they have a voice when they join together, women have rights and women can change this world if they all work together,” she said. “It’s important that not only do I know that, but that my granddaughter knows it for the next generation. If everybody passes it down, it becomes a cultural norm.”
Nyakudya said that she felt it was important to come out to fight against being silenced.
“It’s important that I came to my first rally with family that fights for our rights.”
Saturday’s rally included remarks from public officials, local civil and community activists including Mayor Allen Joines, former city alderman Virginia Newell, Madison Kimrey, Ruby Richter and Linda Sutton from Democracy, North Carolina.
“Today you are making a difference,” Joines said to the crowd. “You will be marching today in solidarity to help address and save the moral fiber of our country.”
Newell urged women to educate themselves and their families when it comes to voting in the upcoming election.
“In Democracy, you must be intelligent and educated. Read the tweets, the big print, and the little print. It’s not enough to register, but you must get out and vote. Not only should you carry yourselves, but you should carry your neighbors.”
The rally also included performances by Alter Egos, Authoring Action, Dan River Girls, Happy Beat Drummers, Diana Tuffin and Karon Click. The rally was hosted by Indivisible Piedmont NC, Winston-Salem NAACP, Moms Demand Action NC, Triad NOW, Triad Women’s March, RISE Together Piedmont Triad, League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, Democracy North Carolina, Indivisible Guilford County NC, Winston-Salem Urban League Young Professionals and the ACLU of North Carolina.
Jake Gellargoad, from Winston-Salem, came to the rally to support women’s right and equality for everyone. He said that he has had it with the antics of the president and members of Congress, and feels this rally could really get voters thinking about changes in the upcoming elections.
“I wanted my chance to show my support for women’s equality and my concerns about everything that’s going on in Washington, D.C. with the current shutdown,” he said. “It’s empowering to see all of the pink caps and people here. I think people are really fired up, especially about the 2018 elections. There may be a wave election coming after what happened in Virginia and Alabama. Why not North Carolina? I think legislators and politicians across the state should be paying attention.”
Chanel Davis, a journalism graduate from N.C.A&T SU, is a freelance journalist based in High Point who has worked in the industry for the past five years.