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2nd woman’s march for equality draws 7K
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:48

From Staff Reports 

The Asheville Police Department estimated 7,000 people participated in the second annual Women’s March on Jan. 20 in downtown Asheville.

Organizers claimed about 10,000 people attended, noting that it is difficult to estimate the number of people crowded around corners and down side streets. It was the largest gathering downtown since Mountain Moral Monday in 2013.

 Nationwide, hundreds of thousands marched in hundreds of cities. Different people marched for different reasons, but a common theme was support for Democrat candidates and policies. The 2017 march had been organized to resist tyrannical tendencies and misogynist rhetoric attributed to the newly-elected president and, by extension, leader of the free world.

Issues people were marching for included open borders or at least compassion for keeping families together, health care as provided in the Affordable Care Act, equality for women and the LGBTQIA community, racial justice, protections against domestic violence, state-funded abortion, environmental protection, and voting rights.

People in pink hats and T-shirts that read “March ON, 2018 – Asheville, NC” peacefully walked a 1.4-mile course beginning at City Hall and ending at the Vance Memorial, where some drummed and some danced. Slogans like “#MeToo” and “Blue Wave” recurred in discussions.

Speakers included North Carolina Senator Terry Van Duyn, who encouraged women and progressives to run for office, encourage like-minded people to run, and get out the vote.

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer said, “I stand before you as a product of the blood, sweat and tears of our foremothers and our foregrandmothers that marched before us to make every aspect of my life a possibility. And because of the women who marched before me, I can stand here as your mayor.”

She said people were marching because, “This past year is the first year of my lifetime, and in all of your lifetimes, that women did not take a step forward in their march to equality.”

Nikki Harris, representing Planned Parenthood, urged people to focus on issues that unite. There was much to celebrate; for example, “the first openly transgender woman of color winning an election to public office, the first Asian American and the first-ever Latina woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, seven cities electing their first black mayors, and, of course, in Alabama, where black women delivered, as they always do!”

The police department reported no complaints during the rally. Extra officers had been pulled from traffic duty to patrol the crowd, and the event organizers had hired additional, off-duty officers to make sure participants would be safe.

A small counterprotest, headed by Meredith Hunt of Life Advocates. also was staged. Life Advocates is a pro-life organization — and Planned Parenthood had a strong presence at the event. The T-shirts being sold, as they were last year, raised thousands of dollars for that organization. The counterprotest was also peaceful.

 



 


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