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'More than about women’s rights': Hundreds gather for Raleigh Women’s March

RALEIGH—Hundreds of people marched to Halifax Mall as part of the Raleigh Women's March Saturday afternoon to protest a range of issues concerning the current divisive political and social climate.

The march started at 1 p.m. with protesters circling the North Carolina State Legislative Building and chanting political calls to action such as “This is what democracy looks like” and “Love, not hate, makes America great." Protesters marched for an hour until they arrived at Halifax Mall, where they listened to speeches and musical performances put on by the event organizers, Women Mobilize NC.

“This is more than about women’s rights. It’s about LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, DACA. We won’t be quiet and we won’t back down,” said Supriya Caton, a student at North Carolina State University from Fuquay-Varina, N.C. 

Under the umbrella of intersectional feminism, the Women’s March on Raleigh protested issues such as white nationalism, racial prejudice, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of hate and bigotry that protesters believe dominate the current social and political landscape, according to the march's website.

Despite the wide range of issues the march tackled, many protesters shared a singular resistance to the current presidential administration. 

“This administration has broken my heart over and over and over again. I knew this presidency was going to be bad, but it has been so much worse than I ever thought it could be,” said Joshua Berkov from Raleigh.

Although the protest dealt with extremely serious issues, humor played an important role in lightening the mood. A group of senior women known as the Raging Grannies sang on stage at Halifax Mall to promote peace, justice and equality. 

Creative signs made by protesters often attempted to make comical digs at the presidential administration and the president himself. One sign read “Two of Trump’s three wives are immigrants—proving immigrants are taking the jobs no one else wants."

Some pets also displayed similarly humorous but impactful messages, with one dog having a sign reading “Even I know that no means no."

Some Duke students were able to make the trip to Raleigh and participate in the march. An event page on Facebook called “Women's March on Raleigh - Duke Edition” coordinated rides and poster decorating among Duke students. 

Junior Rachel Lau was the student who created and organized the Facebook event. She said that women’s marches and similar protests offer an opportunity for students to have their voice heard in a landscape that is dominated by media. 

“I believe that the march can be for everyone—all female identifying people, non-binary identifying people and allies alike… I don’t think people should stop trying to make their voices heard, because people are listening,” Lau wrote in a message to The Chronicle.

As the event came to an end, Peter Sumanaseni from Raleigh said that he was especially hopeful younger generations would take an event like this an example for future action.

“This is our third women’s march where we bring our kids and I think it’s really important to teach the younger generation about social activism. They have to learn that things won’t change unless you act,” Sumanaseni said.

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