Hundreds braved the cold and rain Saturday afternoon for the third-annual Women’s March on Roanoke, which activists hope will influence change in Richmond.
“It suggests to me that a lot of people really want to participate and have grown to really love this event,” said Event Organizer Ivonne Wallace Fuentes.
Activists spoke out on a variety of issues, including pipelines, LGBT inclusion, the Equal Rights Amendment, and, most notably, female representation in public office.
Through panels, music, speeches, and marching, supporters hope to capitalize on a national momentum that put a record 131 women in the 116th Congress.
“So there’s tons of different ways that you can serve your community and not necessarily ‘run for office,'” said Former 6th District Congressional Candidate Jennifer Lewis.
Roanoke’s march mirrors similar demonstrations across the country; Meredith Keppel says she has attended every one so far, and encouraged her friends to come with her.
“Meredith came to me and was like ‘do you want to go to the Roanoke March?’ And I was like ‘there’s a march in Roanoke? Yes!'” said Activist Claudia Holman.
The march takes aim at a variety of issues, including the Equal Rights Amendment, a proposed amendment to the U.S. constitution that would make it illegal to discriminate by gender or sex.
An activist named Marnie says it’s a shame such a simple suggestion has taken so long to hit the national stage, and wore a t-shirt from the 1970s to underscore her point.
“Just please give it your best shot and get it passed,” she said.
Regardless of cause, most activists agree the number of young supporters is inspiring.
“But what really energizes me is seeing new faces,” said Lewis.