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Hundreds participate in rainy Athens Women’s March

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As thousands took to their streets in Washington D.C. for the Women’s March, activists in Athens were doing the same.

Hundreds of activists took to the rainy streets of Athens on Saturday afternoon to participate in the 2019 Women’s March.

Students, community members, and children were among the crowds gathered at the Scripps Auditorium, where the march began. There, attendees heard a variety of speeches about issues ranging from climate change to hate speech.

According to the event’s description, this year’s march was focused on local issues and healing justice. The event’s organizer, Kerri Shaw, expanded on these themes in an interview Friday afternoon.

“We’ll be focusing on local issues like sexual assault numbers on campus, for example, and the pay gap in our area because women in Athens county make even less to a dollar than men do, proportionately, in Athens county versus statewide or nationally,” Shaw said.

After assembling at the Scripps auditorium, attendees marched up Court Street to the steps of the Athens County Municipal Court where they heard from additional speakers. The marchers were escorted by local police who closed Court Street for the event.

The crowd began to thin out as the march went on, with only around 100 people still marching for the event’s final walk up Congress Street to Howard Park. Various booths were set up there to inform attendees about consent, local issues, and politics.

Alexander High School student Hanna Cremeans explained why she was out marching on Saturday.

“I am marching because I am very upset about the way that our country is running right now,” Cremeans said.

Recently dismissed LGBT Center director delfin bautista was the emcee for Saturday’s march. bautista was informed of their dismissal earlier this month in a meeting with Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban.

At times, marchers broke out into chants of “justice for delfin,” and several speakers condemned bautista’s dismissal. One speaker, LGBT Center employee Carolyn Nicole Hunter, called Secuban the “head wench.” Hunter also gave the crowd the phone number of the Office of the President and told them to call about bautista’s dismissal.

bautista said they plan on filing an appeal of their dismissal before the deadline Tuesday. bautista said they have had no interaction with Secuban since their dismissal.

bautista also described the personal importance the women’s march has for them.

“A lot of us who are doing social justice work can feel isolated and feel like we’re alone in this and events like this are reminders that we’re not, we are a community, and that there are more of us out there. And we need to come together more, not just today, but more often,” bautista said.

This year’s march was the third Athens women’s march since President Donald Trump took office. Activists in Washington D.C. also took to their streets to march Saturday afternoon.

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