Women Rise Up in Durham on 8/26/17

Our second Women’s Equality Day March and Rally in Durham was on a beautiful day and in a beautiful place – the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC. Thanks to the speakers, the attendees, the marshals, the organizers, the musicians and the dancers. Many of the organizers and most of the speakers were women of color. We used the occasion of Women’s Equality Day to celebrate women’s progress and to talk about what women still need.

Walltown Dancers on the main stage, music by Pots, Pans and Hands. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand

Police estimated that 3,000 people marched, and the American Tobacco Campus estimated that 2,000 attended the rally. We had a much larger turnout than at our first march and rally. Read about the Women’s Equality Through Time March and Rally in 2015

People gathered at the old Durham County Court House building on Main St.  at 9:30am. The speakers began at 9:30am. The rally at the American Tobacco Campus was scheduled to begin at 11am. See the program at Program for Women Rise Up March and Rally – 2017.

Pre-march emcee Zion Tankard with Pauli Murray Project Board Member Brittany Bennett. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand






You can watch coverage of our speakers and the march at “Women’s Equality Day Rally Marches Through Streets of Durham,” TWC, 8/26/17.  The main stage emcee, Carly Jones, led with chants. 
Emcee Carly Jones in magenta. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand
The marchers marched to the American Tobacco Campus. Part of the beauty of the American Tobacco Campus are the water features. There is water flowing down the length of the campus. The main stage was under the water tower, which is mostly surrounded by water.  
View from main stage at Women Rise Up March and Rally. Photo Credit: Action NC
The above picture is taken from the main stage. We had chairs in front, and organizations had tables set up on the left side (in this picture).
View of the crowd in front of the main stage under the water tower at the American Tobacco Campus. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand
Much of the campus was in the shade on this beautiful cool day – cool for Durham in August, anyway.
Rev. Michelle Cotton Laws on main stage Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand
An all woman band, NuEpiphany, made music from 10am until the speeches began. They also did music at certain points during the main stage program, and after the program was over. They are really excellent.  
NuEpiphany, an all woman band. Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand
Another highlight of the event was the young Walltown Dancers. These 5 young women are part of Durham’s Walltown Children’s Theater group. A different set of Walltown Dancers danced for us in 2015.
Walltown Childrens Theater Dancers Photo Credit: Stephanie Lormand

Senator Floyd McKissick came by all of the tables, including NC NOW’s table to visit with Durham and Raleigh NOW members. 

Senator McKissick, who has been a champion for women’s issues in the NC Senate, posted the following, in part. “It is difficult for me to understand that in the year 2017 there is still an ongoing debate relating to whether women should have equal rights and equal pay for equal work. I personally introduced legislation in the North Carolina Senate that addressed both of these issues, unfortunately neither has been considered for debate even at the committee level.”

This march and rally was much larger than the first one we organized, which was in 2015. It is a shame that after all these years we still have so many battles to fight. The upside of having a backwards legislature and chaotic president is that more people are paying attention to what women need to gain true equality.

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