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'It's this idea of unity': Thousands rally for women's equality at uptown Charlotte march

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s Women’s March, now known as the Women United March, took to the streets of uptown Charlotte on Saturday, rallying, speaking and marching for women's rights.

Thousands of women, men and children participated in the event.

“Everyone should be fighting for women’s rights because we’re all together. We need our next generation, all of our counterparts, nonbinary, men, women to be out here with us today and fighting for rights that affect all of our city,” said participant Angie Chandler.

[Charlotte Women's March]

The name change comes after criticism that the march has not been inclusive.

“The goal is to be intersectional in how we look and who’s together,” Chandler said.

Organizers said their hope is that women from all backgrounds will have a voice.

[2018: Large turnout for Charlotte's Second annual Women's March]

“We actually have changed quite a bit from last year,” organizer Laura Meier said. “A lot of criticism was that the Charlotte Women’s March was too white, and we partnered with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and we did it with intention.”

Organizers of the rally partnered with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women to encourage diversity. There was a panel of guest speakers talking about social issues affecting people in Charlotte and beyond.

“It’s this idea of unity, so Women United is more than just a rally or cry. It’s a mission,” Chandler said.

Men, women and children in attendance spoke volumes with their signs.

“One of my biggest issues is reproductive rights,” marcher Alma Hernandez said.

Each person had their own personal conviction to march.

“My main issue today is the wall,” participant Jessica Touart said. “The immigration situation. We have to figure it out. We can’t cage families. It doesn’t make sense.”

For many at the rally, it was one more step toward their fight for equality.

“This is a women’s march, but it’s a march of collaboration,” Hernandez said. “If we don’t work together, we will never get ahead.”

The intention focused on staying energized after years of protests.

“The first year was a lot about anger and protesting the newly elected president,” organizer Gina Natarrete said. “Constantly protesting and being angry is not sustainable, so what we're doing is saying, 'We've marched. We've protested. What is the next step?'”

Organizers said there’s only one action.

“I personally, and I think a lot of women, want women to walk away feeling united, feeling strong, feeling the strength from each other,” Meier said.

Participants marched along the sidewalks on Tryon Street to the square and ended at First Ward Park.

(2018 Charlotte Women's March)

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