Scenes from a Women’s Equality Day rally – because #WEmatter

Tara Romano, NCWU

Tara Romano, NCWU

Thanks to everyone who came out for our very successful Women’s Equality Day rally as part of the Moral Week of Action this past Tuesday, August 26! Rallies are always a lot of work to put together, but our members and partners came together and did a fantastic job. We especially want to thank: ActionNC, Working America, Planned Parenthood Health Systems of NC; Planned Parenthood of Central NC; Blueprint NC; MomsRising NC; NC4ERA; the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc; and the NC NAACP. Covering oft-neglected issues such as paid leave, child care and violence against women, we also addressed reproductive justice, and put a gender lens on voting rights. We had an energetic crowd behind us as we brought up these issues, confirming what we already knew – women’s issues are a core component of what we are fighting for in this movement, not a “fringe” issue.

Thanks to supporter Rebecca Cerese for her filming expertise. Below are photos and links to video from the event.

March to CapitolWe started with a march from Bicentennial Mall to the State Capitol, including a “march of Jericho” circling of the capitol (as part of the Moral Week of Action). Tara Romano, president of NCWU, and O’Linda Gillis, WIN, NC NAACP, delivered documents with our issues to the Governor’s staff.  (This was around 3:45pm or so, when the Governor decided to acknowledge Women’s Equality Day. Coincidence?**)

After the march, the rally started in earnest. First up (video link) was Rabbi Lucy Dinner, Raleigh’s Temple Beth Or, providing our “call to action” and then O’Linda Gillis, WIN Chair, NC NAACP, providing our official welcome and setting the stage for what we were going to address.

Tayon Dancy, Delta Sigma Theta

Tayon Dancy, Delta Sigma Theta

Our next segment of the rally (included in the above video link) covered what voting rights mean to women, with Tayon Dancy of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a song from the always on point Raging Grannies.

Raging Grannies

Raging Grannies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time to talk about the safety of women (video link), and how that seems to take a backseat to ideology. Featuring Gloria De Los Santos, Action NC, and Emma Akpan, Director of Policy, NCWU.

Gloria De Los Santos, Action NC

Gloria De Los Santos, Action NC

Emma Akpan, NCWU

Emma Akpan, NCWU

Our next piece was an opportunity to talk about issues of economic security for women (video link), including paid family leave (Jeannine Sato, MomsRising NC), Medicaid expansion and unemployment insurance (Jolanda Ware, Working America) and child care and the EITC (Sheila Arias, MomsRisingNC).

 

Sheila Arias, MomsRising NC

Sheila Arias, MomsRising NC

Jolanda Ware, Working America

Jolanda Ware, Working America

Jeannine Sato, MomsRising NC

Jeannine Sato, MomsRising NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished up with a fantastic poem (video link) from past NC NAACP poet laureate Trina Thoughtz. NCWU President Tara Romano wrapped up the event with a call to action: participate in the #WEmatter national campaign (including videos we filmed, which will be posted soon); be on the look out for our upcoming Women’s Night Out events across the Triangle/Triad (more soon!); and make your plan for voting – go to the NC State Board of Elections website for your ballot and election times and places, and then put a big “V” on your calendar for the day and time you will vote. Take 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 women with you, and then go out for dinner/drinks/coffee to celebrate afterwards – you just did your civic duty!  When women vote, we are the change we want to see.

Youth Organizing Institute activist Monse Alvarez Matehuala also was scheduled to speak, but was unable to make it before the rally ended. We recorded her speech here.

Women have been the face of so many of these issues we’ve been talking about in the Moral Monday movement, and we definitely power this movement. We have a long road ahead of us – democracy is hard work – but when women stand together, we can accomplish anything! Thank you all for joining us as we make change on the road to justice.

Tara Romano, President, NCWU

For more on the Moral Week of Action, including how women’s issues are an integral part of the movement, read this RH Reality Check piece interviewing Tara Romano and other Moral Monday activists.

**Tara Romano did send a Letter to the Editor in response to the Governor’s late day proclamation. It wasn’t published, which is an unfortunate reality of limited editorial pages. But that doesn’t mean we won’t share it with you!

NC Women an Afterthought at the Governor’s Office

Whether it was a coincidence, or our rally served as a reminder, the Governor’s late day proclamation for Women’s Equality Day (August 26) demonstrated once again that North Carolina women are an afterthought in our Governor’s mind.

It wasn’t just the awkward timing of the proclamation, although that was odd.  The Governor’s statement that voting gives women a voice on issues such as equal pay and equal rights rings hollow coming from elected officials who have done nothing but ignore and marginalize women’s concerns ever since many of them took office. Refusing to expand Medicaid; cutting childcare subsidies; eliminating the state EITC; demonizing teachers; increasing restrictions on reproductive health care; and shuttering proposed legislation for equal pay and paid leave – these are some of the issues we brought out at our rally yesterday that are important to NC women. Was anyone in the Governor’s office listening?

One of our rally speakers talked of her 98 year old grandmother’s struggle to obtain a proper voter ID required for the 2016 elections, a requirement the Governor signed into law last year.   Perhaps Governor McCrory can take his own advice when he asks us all “to reflect upon the power of the vote” and consider what NC women – his constituents – are saying to him about the many harmful policy changes he’s passed through during his time in office.

repeal

moms rising

marching to capitol