story and photographs by Caroline Bowers and Jamie Cummings
More than 10,000 men, women, and children crowded the streets of downtown Asheville in support of the Women’s March on Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration of President Trump, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.
In solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, the Asheville event joined more than 600 other ‘Sister Marches’ taking place worldwide. These marches were aimed at recognizing diversity and protecting women’s rights through “nonviolence [as] a positive force confronting the forces of injustice,” according to WomensMarch.com.
“The march made me hopeful. We will be okay as a nation throughout the next four years. Also, it has made me realize that this election has brought us all out and made us all very active, which is good. I’m excited for the future,” said Asheville march volunteer Mary Grace Wynne.
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Quality, were among several speakers who also worked to lead the demonstration.
In Washington, D.C., speakers included actress and activist Scarlett Johansson, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards and Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Roslyn Brock. Additionally, speaker and film director Michael Moore acknowledged nine women who traveled from Asheville to D.C. for the march. The women called themselves the “Asheville 9,” according to the Asheville Citizen Times.
Multiple students from Roberson traveled to Washington to participate in the march there. Sophomore Katherine Anderson flew overnight on Friday, Jan. 20, so that she could be at Capitol Hill early the next morning.
“My mom and I throughout the day would talk about how we were a part of history. In textbooks, they will probably talk about the march,” Anderson said.
Others from Roberson, including math teacher Cindy Hallman-Morris, attended the march in Asheville in support of not only women’s rights, but also equal rights for all people. Overall, Hallman-Morris marched because she has concerns about the new administration in Washington.
“I felt like I was both demonstrating the fact that I wanted to be heard and also protesting the things I felt had been slighted,” Hallman-Morris said. “I was marching for public education. The nominee for Secretary of Education, I believe, is not going to be good for us.”
Demonstrators, like Wynne, believe that even though the march in Asheville may seem small in comparison to others across the globe, when combined with the over 4.5 million other participants, it will leave a lasting impact.
“I think if it was just Asheville, it would be different. But the fact that there are many communities across the nation and the world coming together and proving that we are a huge force to be reckoned with is really important. Even though everyone here can’t be in D.C., we’re still going to do what we can in Asheville,” Wynne said.