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Charlotte Area News

More Activism, Celebration With This Year's March

CMPD estimates at least 5,000 people attended Saturday's women's march in Charlotte. It was the second rendition of the march. A  year ago, more than 10,000 people packed uptown Charlotte one day after the inauguration of President Trump. Organizers billed this year's march as "Remarchable Women." 

WFAE's Alex Olgin and Nick de la Canal filed audio and video updates during the march, which you can view and hear below.

Check back to wfae.org for more stories on the march, and listen to WFAE 90.7FM  in Charlotte and 90.3 FM in Hickory this evening and Sunday morning. We'll have followup stories during Weekend All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday.

Updated 12:55 p.m.

There’s a different feel to this year’s march, reports WFAE’s Nick de la Canal. He says many returning marchers have told him there was more anger last year because of the election of President Trump. That’s still a component, but not as much.

“People have said this year does feel a little more joyous and less reactionary to the election,” de la Canal says.

He says there’s big focus on registering people to vote, and discussion of other issues such as immigration. The #MeToo movement is also evident, de la Canal reports. At one point, the there was chant of “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Sexual Violence Has Got To Go.”

WFAE's Alex Olgin spoke to people who participated in support of LGBTQ rights, and parents who brought their children. Equality was a dominate theme.

Updated 12:05 p.m.
WFAE's Nick de la Canal and Alex Olgin reoport via video from women's march events in Charlotte. There were several speakers at First Ward Park this morning. A CMPD officer estimated the crowd at about 2,000 by 11 a.m. 


Updated 11:10 a.m.
WFAE's Alex Olgin filed this video report from the women's march in uptown. Meanwhile, a CMPD officer tells WFAE's Nick de la Canal that the crowd is about 2,000 people so far. 

Updated 10:15 a.m.
Events for this year's women's march in Charlotte, billed as Remarchable Women, are getting underway uptown. WFAE's Alex Olgin and Nick de la Canal are there. Check back for updates throughout the day. Alex spoke to WFAE's Greg Collard at 10:04 a.m. 

WFAE's Alex Olgin reports from uptown as women's march events get underway.

Transcript of segment:

Greg: So what's it like down there?

Alex: Well the speakers just started just a minute or so ago. There was some music playing. I'd say they're probably a couple hundred people gathered down at First Ward Park on the grassy area. There are lots of different signs. Many in pink caps, the pink beanies that became popular at the last women's mach.

Greg: Well, what are people saying?

Alex: So people have told me that they came out because they feel like the political environment is unfair and upsetting. Some are returning. I talked to one woman who just came out this year, she's actually helping her daughter write a paper on gender equality, and people of all different demographics out here today.

Greg: Yes, so it has been noted that last year's march was overwhelmingly white.It t sounds like it's a little more diverse this year?

Alex: Yes, of course we don't know numbers yet, but I have seen a lot of men, women, white, black, Hispanic, Asian - lots of different demographics that here. So it does seem fairly diverse overall.

Greg: Quickly Alex so we call it a women's march but are men turning out.

Alex: Absolutely. I've seen a good bit of males out here. Some in pink pants, some in pink hats some with signs. I saw one man that had a sign that says, "This feminist has balls."

Greg: OK, well we'll leave it at that. WFAE's Alex Olgin, thank you.

Alex: You're welcome. 

Preview of women's march events:

In Charlotte, organizers expect at least 5,000 to attend a rally at First Ward Park before marching through the streets of uptown to Romare Bearden Park.

The event, billed as "Remarchable Women," will feature nearly 20 speakers that include several local politicians, among them Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, city council members Julie Eiselt, Lawana Mayfield, and Dimple Ajmera, and Congresswoman Alma Adams.

The speeches will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the march at 12 p.m.

Last year's event, organized by a group of five women affectionately know as the "fem five," drew more than 10,000 people to uptown Charlotte on the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration. Attendees wore pink knit hats and held signs promoting women's liberation and denouncing the president.

The 2017 event ultimately led to the creation of a political group called "Charlotte Women's March," which now boasts a membership of around 1,800 people. Over the last year, the group has begun dipping its toe into local and state politics, organizing voter registration drives, holding regular meetings, and encouraging members to contact their representatives on a range of issues.

The group also sponsored a local candidate forum in November, and has co-hosted events with the Black Women's Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Speaking on WFAE's Charlotte Talks on Wednesday, Jan Anderson, the president of the Charlotte Women's March group, said the organization's priorities in the coming year will be less focused on resistance, and more on persistence.

"In 2018, our goal is to get both women and men elected to office who are like-minded, and who will pass and enact legislation that supports those issues that women find important," Anderson said.

"This is no longer about Trump. This is bigger than Trump," she added. "This is about social change and respect and dignity for women."