Our Power is Our Voice

...and we used our powerful voices at Women United March 2020

Ramona Halloway - Photo by Tracy Watts

You just KNEW it was going to be a great day, when Ramona Holloway, WLNK-FM morning host, and  Emcee unveiled her Shirley Chisholm vintage T-Shirt to kick off Women United March 2020.  By quoting the words of  Shirley Chisholm, first African American woman to be elected to Congress in 1968, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change,” Ramona noted, “We should all strive to be like Shirley.” Halloway’s T-Shirt connected the original feminists and activists in the crowd with the newest generation of high school activists speaking climate truth to power. #UseYourPower and #GameOn out loud and proud on January 25, 2020 in First Ward Park. DJ.SPK kept the crowd entertained and dancing both before and after the march with a wide variety of powerful women anthems.

Header photo above by Lisa Stockton Howell.

March attendees were welcomed and challenged by Renee Hill representing National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Queen City Metropolitan Chapter (at podium) and Gina Navarrete, Co-President of Charlotte Women’s Movement the two sponsoring organizations of the Women United March. 

Renee Hill, speaking, and Gina Navarrete, Photo by Tracy Watts
Reverend Sharon Washington Risher, photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
Photo by Erin L. Hubbs

Revererend Sharon Washington Risher -a spokesperson for MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA and Everytown Survivor Network. “Ending gun violence is an enormous undertaking and excruciatingly difficult work.  Though the majority of Americans want common sense gun laws, a startlingly low number of people are willing to do the actual work to make it happen….Many people believe the gun violence we experience in this country is not a political issue; Well I believe it is political, but more than that, I believe, it’s a heart condition.  A heart condition because if gun violence in America does not make your heart hurt, cause pain in your soul, then nothing will.  Well, I say now is the time….I hope you have heard one thing today that you didn’t know before. I hope you are motivated to do just a little more, to make this cause a priority.” For Reverend Risher’s complete remarks CLICK HERE.

Angelica Acosta Garnett, “Truth be told, the hardest thing for me as an immigrant was coming to this country with ZERO connections and no social capital….

What made the leap possible? ALLIES. People who refused the one sided – stagnant story – yes, the one where I am only good enough to care for “their” children and clean “their” home -and instead they stood in the gap for me. Twenty years. Eleven people. These ALLIES saw my potential and my ability, and SIMPLY opened a door, and stood back and watched me reach my potential.

Your connections are powerful. Use this power to see, elevate and connect your immigrant neighbors. Today, I stand before you city of Charlotte and I ask that REFUSE to believe the stagnant narrative. Refuse to see people that look like me just as your ‘helpers,’ someone not invited to the ‘big kids’ table, someone different. See me as a Latina woman of color, who can be an executive director, a board member, an attorney, an elder at a church, a government official…you name it.”  For Angelica Garnett’s full remarks CLICK HERE

Angelica Garnett - Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
Photo by Tracy Watts
Brooke Adams - Photo by Tracy Watts
Brooke Adams - Photo by Erin L. Hubbs

Brooke Adams, President Reproductive Rights Coalition “… in November, 2016, I didn’t feel powerful at all – I felt helpless, marginalized and angry.  Eventually I decided to drag my introvert self out to Charlotte’s abortion clinics to see if I could help. 

At the clinics, I saw masses of people, mostly middle-aged white men, yelling horrible things through loud-speaker systems at frightened patients – mostly poor people of color…

Working together with other members of the Charlotte Reproductive Action Network, we’ve been able to gather crowds to join us in protesting abortion bans.  We’ve worked together to ease the stigma of abortion care and to pass a new Noise Ordinance making it illegal to use amplified sound in front of Charlotte’s medical facilities.  And we will keepworking until abortion is recognized as a human right, available to anyone, regardless of their income, race, age or immigration status.

What I’m saying is that YOU HAVE POWER, and it’s time to USE that POWER!  We need every one of you.  Women – run for office! ” For the full text of Brooke’s speech CLICK HERE.

Dr. Alisahah J. Cole, Chief Community Impact Officer for Atrium Health – “Unfortunately, disparities still exist for women in health outcomes, particularly with women of color. And in an industry where we as women make 80% of healthcare decisions and represent 65% of the workforce, we only make up 30% of the C-suite and 13% of CEOs. This must change. We, as women, can no longer accept that these disparities exist. And we, as women, must demand equity for ourselves, and for those young women who follow in our footsteps. ” For Dr. Cole’s full remarks CLICK HERE

Dr. Alisahah J. Cole, - Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
Krissy Oliver-Mays, Ollie Ritchey, and Mary Ellis Stevens - Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
Mary Ellis Stevens, Ollie Ritchey, Krissy Oliver-Mays - Photo by Tracy Watts

Krissy Oliver-Mays, Ollie Ritchey, and Mary Ellis Stevens Climate Activists – “Being an activist is more than posting on social media, or wishing others well who are suffering. It is taking those feelings and transforming them into motivation, strength, and drive. It is looking at the devastating destruction we have created as the human race and saying NO MORE! ….But in the end, it is laws not lightbulbs; it will take global systemic change to save us. However, individual action is crucial, and the community that stems from it even more so. This is where women will win….

The choice is this. We can be affected by the world, or affect the world ourselves. We chose the latter. And why? Because we know that we must. We are fighting so that our children will never have to sit outside of a government building every Friday for months, waiting for those in power to listen…

This cycle was created by rich, white, cis, straight men with power. It is communities women and girls who will save us. It will be womxn of color, youth, mothers, LGBTQ+ people, and those from low income areas who will save the world. ” For the full remarks from Krissy, Ollie and Mary Ellis CLICK HERE

Deb Butler, NC District 18 House Representative, excerpts from her speech below:

“And so what is a movement anyway?  Well, to me it’s pretty simple.  A movement begins when you have enough people who are just too damn uncomfortable to stay still.  You feel propelled by your righteous indignation and you’ve just gotta move.

WE should NOT get comfortable, until NC teachers are paid at or above the national average, until masters pay is restored, until teachers don’t have to pay for their substitutes or supplies, and until they don’t have to work at the Pizza Hut on the weekends to make ends meet. Its time to move on education! 

Or Maybe the thing that’s making you uncomfortable is the lack of healthcare.

Here in North Carolina, we have the present ability without higher taxation to make healthcare available to 600,000 more people.  I am not being dramatic when I tell you that People are dying in the healthcare coverage gap, they are rationing insulin, they are skipping meals, they cannot access essential mental health care for substance use disorder and therefore our opioid crisis continues.  Are you ready to move for them?

That morning people saw me sharing what I believe is our common condition. …   But, BUT….they also saw movement… in that moment, I didn’t care about anything else except trying my best to prevent the theft of these basic fundamental values.  …. I had to move.  In that moment, I tried as hard as I could to derail an ambush, … a maneuver designed to cheat my colleagues and to cheat all of North Carolina. In that moment, I was officially far too uncomfortable and Yes, I refused to yield

I am proud to stand with you Charlotte…..I will not yield…Now, Let’s get moving!!!” For Rep Deb Butler’s full remarks, CLICK HERE

NC District 18 House Representative, Deb Butler - Photo by Tracy Watts
Deb Butler and Mickie Hall, Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell
DJ SPK - Photo by Erin L. Hubbs
Photo by Lisa Stockton Howell

1 thought on “Our Power is Our Voice”

  1. Pingback: » Democracy, and new HUGE GerryMander. (Psst! He’s awesome … but he’s got to go!)

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