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Charlotte Women Reflect On Last Year's March

This time last year, women from all over the country were heading to the nation’s capital to participate in the women’s march on Washington. Some marched for issues of inequality others for healthcare, and many in response to the election of President Trump.

Last year before they headed north, WFAE’s Sarah Delia spoke to several women about why they wanted to march and what they hoped to get out of the experience. A year later, Delia circled back with some of them.

For Sally Young participating in the women’s march on Washington wasn’t just about marching for the issues that are important to her like a fair health care system. It was also about who she was marching with, her daughter.

"It was good to know that we had this time together and that we shared the values that are important to the US and important  to women," Young said. "I was delighted that she wanted to go with me."

Young, now retired from the Charlotte Fire Department, recalls feeling empowered at the march and carrying that charged feeling with her when she returned home. Since last year’s march she says she’s given to Planned Parenthood as well as contacted her lawmakers about issues she’s concerned about. But she’s still trying to figure out how to make a lasting impact.

"I would like to be part of the solution,"  Young said. "We don’t know what the solution is necessarily going to be at this point. But we go forward and try to create the community and be there for other people."

A community she hopes will include everyone. One of the criticism of the women’s march was that it wasn’t as inclusive to women of color. Young says that needs to be fixed.

"They’ve been excluded for a long time and we have a lot of work to do," Young said. "I think the important thing is the one on one and building of community. And that they know they are valued and contributing members."

This time Young will be marching in Charlotte. And so will Gail Chauncey, a Human Resources professional at a local bank. She marched in Washington last year.

One of the reasons she marched was last year’s divisive election. When she got back to Charlotte she attended different organizations meetings trying to find ways to get involved. She landed on Caldwell Presbyterian, a church she describes as very active and involved in the community on issues she cares about, like affordable housing.

Chauncey is African American and although the march has received criticism for not including women of color, she sees it a little differently.

"You've got some people who are running for political office that have never run before, there are people who write letters, there are people who go to meetings, who march, and people who vote. We can’t assume that when black women or women of color aren’t there it’s not inclusive."

Chauncey did say that she remembers noticing the lack of diversity at the march.

"It made me pensive, it didn't make me sad. I felt like the women that were there got it. They got everything," Chauncey said. 

But it’s complicated. Chauncey said if the statistics were reversed, if there were more women of color marching than white women, the march would be seen differently.

"I do believe had there been more black women it would have been that would have been an issue."

Both Gail and Sally say they appreciated their experiences marching in DC last year. But this time, they’re excited to keep their enthusiasm local where they see they can make the most impact.