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‘This is about protecting our rights’: Hundreds march downtown in support of women’s rights

Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2021 at 9:36 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - All across the nation more than 600 marches took place from California, New York, and Washington D.C. to rally in support of Roe V. Wade, women’s rights and to protest the recent Texas Abortion law. Richmond was no exception.

The March began at 10:30 a.m. and started and ended at the Diversity Richmond building off near I-95.

The March’s organizer Rae Pickett says more than 800 people showed up from the nearly four-mile march across the city from Hermitage Street, Broad Street, Arthur Ashe Boulevard, and Leigh Street. Pickett says Richmond’s march was largely driven by grass-roots efforts with no formal organization leading it.

“People today all joined together as quickly as they could in order to organize around the supreme court’s decision to not intervene with Texas’s six-week abortion ban SB-8,” Pickett said. “We were really inspired to make this our own to make this about the city and the cities that surround Richmond and really be representative of all Virginians.”

Pickett says she was surprised at the diverse crowd that showed up despite only 12 days of planning. Some in the crowd say they have been participating in events like this for decades.

“The message is that women are equal to men and that people with uteruses have to have choices over their lives, bodies, and futures,” Vicky Bell said.

Other marchers like Mariela Gallardo chose to march with her seven-year-old to inspire her to fight for her autonomy.

“She will be her own woman one day,” Gallardo said. " She can choose what she wants one day and she can protect herself. I hope to show her strength.”

Kyle Townsend joined the march with his friend Serica Cockrell. Townsend says he was happy to see dozens of men present to march in support of women’s rights,

“There’s so much diversity out here everyone is just so pumped and ready to fight for women’s basic healthcare,” Erica Cockrell said.

“I love the fact that I can be an ally for all these women out here and I love seeing the number of men that have turned out here to support them as well,” Kyle Townsend said. “It’s a women’s body it’s her choice I support that so that’s why I’m here.”

This March comes just weeks after the Richmond March for life at the State Capitol. Despite the opposition, Rae says they are fighting for the rights of those on the opposite side of the debate as well.

“No matter what side of the abortion debate you are on we are fighting for everyone’s right to get an abortion if and when they need one,” Pickett said.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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