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Women’s March on Capitol Grounds: 'We Want our Voices Heard'

Women's March, Donald Trump, Inauguration
Joni Deutsch
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Marchers chanted, "Fierce and free!" outside the Capitol in Charleston, W. Va.

About 2,800 people gathered outside the Capitol in Charleston on Saturday, Jan. 21, to show their support for women’s equality one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The march was one of roughly 600 “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, D.C., which was organized as a march for women’s equality as well as for other marginalized groups. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the Women’s March on Washington.

More than 1,000 people RSVP’d to the Charleston march online. According to event organizers, approximately 2,800 people participated in Saturday’s march at the West Virginia State Capitol. 

Credit Joni Deutsch/ WVPB

The event was organized by several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group and West Virginia Focus on Reproductive Education and Equality.

"I'm here so that my daughter has what she needs to have a good life. Everybody has the right to love who they want to love and raise their children the way they want to raise them to be healthy and safe." -march participant Jessica Ball.

“Everything that we’ve been fighting for for years I think is at stake here,” said one of the marchers, Mary Bolton, who lives in Institute, West Virginia. “As an African American mother and grandmother, I’m concerned about the state of affairs in our country. I’m concerned about the rhetoric, and what our current president has unleashed in our society. And I am determined to have a voice and to educate and to help other women, men and children turn this tide around.”

Although most of the marchers were women, men also participated in Saturday’s march, saying they were there to support women’s rights, and equality for all people.

Many women brought their children to the march, including Jessica Ball, of Barboursville, West Virginia, who marched with her 12-year-old daughter, Ireland Grace Ball.

“I’m here so that my daughter has what she needs to have a good life,” Ball said. “Everybody has the right to love who they want to love and raise their children the way they want to raise them to be healthy and safe."

Ball is a social worker, and she said she would like to see people be able to keep their health care under a Trump presidency.

Many women at West Virginia's march also said affordable health care was a major issue for them. Other issues that brought women to the event were concerns for a safe and healthy environment for their children, and fair rights for LGBT individuals.

West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore also released a statement on Saturday.

“They always say you never know someone’s struggles until you walk a mile in their shoes. While today marks an unfathomable act of togetherness, we need to be sure we’re bringing this energy, determination and fight home with us,” she wrote in an email. “We need to grab our clipboards, our walking shoes and we need to fight for the future of West Virginia. We can’t give up and we can only do the most good for West Virginia and her people if we do it together.”

According to the Associated Press, more than 1 million people rallied at women's marches in the nation's capital and cities around the world on Saturday.

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