KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Approximately 250 activists paraded through UT donning signs and chanting messages in support of women and minority rights on Friday, Jan 20.
The route was from the Humanities Amphitheater, to Andy Holt Dr., past the Aquatics Center, left on UT drive to Volunteer Blvd. where it came to an end under the eternal flame of the Torchbearer.
Activists addressed issues with access to healthcare, reproductive rights, racial justice, economic justice, transgender rights and LGBT rights. Activists were encouraged to share their message of “why they’re here” to the rest of the group with a loudspeaker.
“Regardless of harsh and divisive rhetoric that we’ve seen from our President-Elect and his administration we’re just trying to send a message of positivity,” Feroza Freeland, president of College Democrats, said. “We were really excited to take this opportunity with everything that’s going on right now, with the inauguration being today we just are really here to spread a positive message of inclusion and of support for women’s rights, rights for minorities and inclusion and acceptance for everyone.”
The group was quick to note that the protest was not focused on Anti-Trump rhetoric, but on being an inclusive march that supports all human rights. The event was a self-proclaimed activity of uniting women and women’s rights supporters from different stages of life on the issues.
According to Kimberly Peterson, member of the Women’s March on Washington East Tennessee Chapter, women have forgotten the legacy of so many others that have come before them.
“We have these women that have done so much that we’ve gotten a little bit complacent. We made so much progress, but we forgot that legacy. It’s a responsibility,” Peterson said. “We are charged for keeping the fight moving forward for all the people that come after us.”
The march served as an outlet for community members who do not have the opportunity to attend the larger Women’s March on Washington that is taking place Saturday, Jan. 21 in Washington D.C. The event is expected to garner thousands of individuals from every corner of the nation.
The East Tennessee Chapter of Women’s March on Washington has organized another event for 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 in Market Square to show support for the larger movement. At least 400 people are expected to attend.
Featured Image and Video by McKenzie Manning
Edited by Kaitlin Flippo