On January 21, 2017, more than 3 million people joined together across the country and globe to stand in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, and with women across the world. Whether they were in DC, or in one of the hundreds of sister marches, people from all walks of life stood together in solidarity and let politicians who would see the clock rolled back on civil and reproductive rights know: We aren’t going anywhere, and we are ready to fight.
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) volunteers and staff participated in marches across North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia. We asked them to share why they march, and here’s what they had to say:
I chose to march on Saturday because as a woman in a position of privilege, it is my duty to fight for women in poverty, women of color, LGBT+ women, abused women, mothers, sex workers, women fighting environmental racism, uneducated women, undocumented women, and anyone else whose voice is continuously silenced. I believe that, in this time of great turmoil, we must stand up and fight together rather than hide and wait out the storm. Our voices together can be louder than any attack from a president and cabinet we neither want nor deserve. I believe, with every fiber of my being, that we are working towards a better and more equitable future, and the only way we can truly move forward is to abolish any brand of feminism that excludes and promotes patriarchal ideals. Let this march open the floodgates for inclusive feminism to hit the mainstream, and for privileged women to recognize that privilege and stand with our underserved and underrepresented sisters as protectors and true allies. I did not march because I hate this country- to the contrary, I love America and am willing to fight for what I know we as a nation stand for!-- Annie O., Asheville, NC
I am a mother, and I marched for my son. I want him to grow up in a country where the women in his life are respected and treated as equal to men. I want my body, the body that birthed him, to be recognized as the powerful vessel that it is. I want the government out of my uterus; that same organ in which my boy was so recently created and nourished, and through which he came onto this earth.
I am a wife, and I marched for my partner; the incredible feminist who stayed at our farm to keep the animals and tend the house. I want him to see a world where the women whom he sees as goddesses are universally seen as such. I want his respect for women to be normalized, and I want him to see the young men to whom he has taught this to pass it to others in turn.
I am a woman, and I marched for all womyn. I marched for every girl, lady, trans-woman, femme, woman, butch, grrl, and every other person in herstory who has been discriminated against because of their gender. I marched because we birthed this world, and it is our responsibility to make it better for everyone.-- Maureen F., Beverly, WV
Planned Parenthood is a beacon of health care and it breaks my heart that the new presidential regime is attacking it. I volunteered for Planned Parenthood at the Women’s March on Charlotte because I know how important Planned Parenthood is. Planned Parenthood supplies health care for people who simply cannot afford it. The organization stands up for the reproductive rights of everyone regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic class etc. The anti-discriminatory policy of Planned Parenthood is possibly the most revolutionary and beautiful things in a time of darkness.-- Laney O., Charlotte, NC
Saturday was Empowering! I felt my voice had volume as I joined 17,000+ in the Women's March - Raleigh, NC. I'm a volunteer for Planned Parenthood and have a passion for standing up for women's reproductive and health care rights. For the right to choose. I knew I had to be there, not so much to protest against, but to march for equal rights! Everyone's rights! My hope is that this powerful positive energy will stay in the hearts of each one of us that chanted, that held up our awesome signs while wearing our proud colors (Pink!) and marching through downtown Raleigh…that we Stay Motivated! Get Involved! Volunteer! Be Empowered! Our future depends on it. I can't wait for the next opportunity to stand up and have my voice heard! I wanted to be part of something big, important and life changing. And so glad I was!-- Amy H., Raleigh, NC
Because I’ve grown up in North Carolina, I’ve seen the horrific restrictions placed on women’s reproductive rights by my state legislature. Because of this, I chose to participate in the Charlotte march instead of the Washington, DC march. It is essential to me that North Carolina women are represented and given a voice and a choice regarding their own bodies. I participated in the Women’s March to stand up to legislators who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood who, through their actions, have shown that women’s health just isn’t that important to them. Women’s health and reproductive rights are essential and should be represented as such throughout North Carolina and national legislation.-- Caroline R., Charlotte, NC
Like many I woke up on November 9th scared, afraid and heartbroken. Again, the most qualified person for the job was denied the job because she was a woman. I wallowed, and now is the time to engage.
I marched because my Grandmother had the highest GPA in her graduating high school class and was not allowed to be valedictorian because of her gender. I marched because not everyone in my family is white, straight or originally from America. I marched because a denying women the right to choose is a form of systematic oppression. I marched because healthcare is a fundamental right. I marched for my nieces and their future. I marched because love is love is love. I marched for men. I marched because women’s rights are human rights. I marched for equal pay, and a living wage. I marched because Planned Parenthood has always been there for my friends and me. I marched to heal my soul.
America is a first world country and it’s time to start acting like it. Our elected officials work for us, we the people, and if they don’t, as the new President likes to say, “You’re Fired.”-- Kristy G., Raleigh, NC
I decided to join the Women's March because what is a nation without equality and justice for all? I do not want to live in a country that thinks less of women and POC and LGBTQ+ citizens, people, without fighting for change. I marched to stand in solidarity with my sisters, friends, neighbors, fellow citizens to prove that we won't back down and we will fight for our rights. This country was born from resistance and the call for fair representation, and so must we do the same today for our voices to be heard.Mary Anna B., Barboursville, WV
I felt compelled to participate in the Women’s March in Asheville, NC on Saturday, January 21, 2017. It is part of my need to do SOMETHING in response to our new president and the Republican agenda.
At 54 years of age, as the sign says: I can’t believe I am still protesting this “stuff.” Schemes to defund Planned Parenthood are a direct attack on women and women’s health care.
As a teenager in the late 70s, I had access to excellent, affordable care, education and birth control through Planned Parenthood. I never needed an abortion, but if I did, I knew I had the option that was safe and legal.
While abortion is still legal, it is increasingly harder to access in many states thanks to the GOP chipping away through legislation that seeks to control and humiliate women. Less clinics, waiting periods, [forced] ultrasounds, and time constraints are now part of the practice making abortion harder to access for many, especially poor women. It takes a man and a woman to conceive. Why are men held to a different standard?
I want safe, affordable healthcare for my daughter and all the women in this country and I am willing to fight for it. Thank you to all the brave, brilliant, women who went before me.-- Susan M., Asheville, NC
I am from Huntington, WV, a town where the "red" far outnumber the "blue". I was selected to be the Outreach Captain for my area but then had a death in the family (my daughter passed away). She was a proud, nasty woman who very much believed in women's rights and access to things like affordable birth control and cancer screenings for lower income women. She was also a member of the LGBT community with a bi-racial child. I chose to march in her honor and memory and for the future of my granddaughter.
I went to the march in DC on a bus from Huntington that took all night to get there. I was exhausted when I arrived, but excited as well. By the end of the day my feet hurt so badly I barely made it back to the bus. However, I felt that my voice (and my daughter's voice) had finally been heard and that there was at least some hope for my granddaughter's future.Barbara G., Huntington, WV
I marched for my daughters, who have always had access to birth control and deserve the right to be in charge of their own bodies. I marched for my son, who cried after the election because he couldn’t understand why anyone would vote for a man who displays such animosity toward others. I marched for my husband, a kind, sensitive, intelligent man who fears for the health of our planet. I marched for men, women and children who, like myself, have a serious medical condition and will face dire consequences if we are denied access to affordable health care due to our pre-existing condition. I marched for my mother, who worked for Planned Parenthood for 10 years and would be appalled (if she were still alive) that women are still fighting for their reproductive rights. I marched for my father, who taught me to love and respect everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. I marched for my sisters, who have devoted time and resources to working with the disabled and those down on their luck. I marched for my faith, whose guiding principle is the inherent worth and dignity of ALL people.-- Sharon B., Charlotte, NC