‘United We March’ rally brings out nearly 150 despite snow, rain

By Claire Cowley, Staff Reporter

As snow and sleet pelted Carbondale on Saturday, nearly 150 people gathered at the Carbondale Civic Center for this year’s 2019 “United We March” rally.

“The one thing we continue to push for in southern Illinois is favoring all groups that are working toward equity, justice and human rights,” said Elizabeth Hunter, Women United Network co-founder and march organizer.

Hunter said they want to educate the public on the political process by working at a state and local level to increase involvement.

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“We had voter registration [and canvassing] training,” Hunter said. “This year we will have educational sessions […] one on how a bill becomes a law in Illinois.”

Community engagement continues to be a priority for Hunter and the organization. Hunter said she wanted to make sure people not only come out for the march, but also have the opportunity to meet local organizations.

Emery Johnson-Miles, lead medical and legal advocate at the Carbondale Women’s Center, said seeing these women gather together is very powerful.

“It’s very healing for survivors,” Johnson-Miles said. “We find that a lot of people who come to our table end up disclosing some sort of violence.”

Johnson-Miles said it is important to serve as a presence in order to support survivors of sexual assault, harassment, stalking and gender-based violence.

Debbie Stanley, a march attendee from Makanda, said she is marching because of today’s political climate.

“Women have been traditionally stepped on,” Stanley said. “If you step on anybody’s rights, then you’re leading the way to step on everybody’s rights. I’m proud to be a woman and I want women to continue getting freedom.”

Staff reporter Claire Cowley can be reached at [email protected]

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