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Gender on agenda with second annual women’s march on Charlotte
Procession brings attention to issues, disparities
Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 12:25 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Women and men joined forces last year for a march highlighting issues women face in Charlotte.

People are waking up to social injustice.

Even if Americans believed themselves to have a coherent grasp on the way the world works, the 2016 presidential election triggered an awakening to more than one disparity. On Jan. 20, the lens focuses on gender in Charlotte.  

Approximately 10,000 people participated in the inaugural women’s march last January. The 2018 march will follow the same route from First Ward Park to Romare Bearden Park in Uptown. Speakers will address marchers from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

“I marched on Washington a year ago, because women my age worked hard to gain respect on the job, in the home, and in society, and we are not going to relinquish those gains,” said Jan Anderson, president of the Charlotte Women’s March. “I am marching on January 20, because there is still more work to be done.”

Among the speakers is Carolyn Logan, president of Black Women's Caucus and co-chair of a recent reception honoring women elected to office. Logan was North Carolina’s first black woman state trooper.

“I started out being the first black female police officer in Asheville,” Logan said. “In 1984, I was recruited by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, becoming in 1985 the first black female state trooper. I was the only one for 14 years.”

What should have been a milestone in Logan’s career at times posed a nightmare.

“The harassment, the ridicule, and the talked down to—being made to feel less than a human being to where I actually disliked myself,” Logan said. “I hated to look in the mirror at myself, because I knew I was being treated like that, because I was a female, and because I was black. I had two strikes against me that I did not have any control over. That went on until the day I retired.”

Logan wrestled with how to raise her children in a world where anything should be possible without it coming across like Santa Claus exists.

“I’m raising two daughters,” Logan said. “I come home every day and tell my daughters that they can be anything they want to be, hiding behind tears, trying to stay strong, because I don’t want them to give up. I truly believe that, but I’ve always told them, it’s not going to be easy. You have to prepare yourself, and be ready to get out here, stand up for yourself, and go for whatever it is you want to do.”

Logan continues to advocate for change at the legislative level, particularly as it pertains to an employer’s power to fire an employee “at will.”

“We’ve got to have these laws in place, and people in position who will listen to what is happening to women out here, and do something about it,” Logan said. “I don’t make trouble, but I will call you out if you are doing something wrong. Not just for black women, but for white men, black men, white, etc. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.”

Laura Meier, co-chair of Charlotte Women's March Racial Justice Group, like many, traveled to Washington D.C. for the women’s march following President Donald Trump’s inauguration last winter.

“Everything stemmed from the 2016 election, and my displeasure with it,” Meier said. “I kind of woke up, and have not stopped since.”

Meier’s involvement with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s campaign as volunteer coordinator had a snowball effect on her involvement in pursuing change rather than talking about it.

“After the election I just went in full-gear,” Meier said. “I think I was kind of awake before, but I thought I was awake until the election. The Charlotte Women’s March is a great avenue. Somebody said, ‘we’re trying to boil the ocean,’ and they have taken so many different causes, and done so many different wonderful things. Whether it’s voter registration, racial justice, women’s health issues—it’s an amazing group of really strong women who are ready to go, and aren’t stopping.”

Not everyone is called to lead, and as Meier puts it, “that’s fine.”

“You’ve got people who are leaders, and are go-getters, and there are people who are doers, and there are people who just want to hang back, and help when they can,” she said. “I don’t think we can push people out of their comfort zones. I think we can challenge them, but I think you need to just let them do what they’re comfortable with. I think it’s working. People are comfortable where they are, and when they want a leadership role, they’ll do it. Am I happy when someone says, ‘politics is just not for me?’ That infuriates me, but I can’t push somebody because of the way I feel. I can only do what I can do.”

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