2018-03-14 / Features

‘Here’s to strong women’

STORY & PHOTOS BY ANNA FLETCHER
COURIER-TIMES STAFF WRITER


More than 100 participants marched down Main Street in uptown Roxboro on Saturday in honor of International Women’s Day. More than 100 participants marched down Main Street in uptown Roxboro on Saturday in honor of International Women’s Day. “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman,” Annette Hampton said Saturday at the International Women’s Day March in Roxboro. “But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.”

Hampton – the director of Safe Haven of Person County – addressed a crowd of more than 100 at Merritt Commons in uptown Roxboro, along with 14 other community leaders.

The event was Roxboro’s first celebration of the annual observance, which technically falls on March 8 each year. Organizers decided to push the local observance to the following Saturday so more people could attend.

“This is not just a woman’s issue, because we are all truly one body” said Judge Carolyn Thompson, who holds District Court in Granville, Warren, Vance and Franklin counties and was the event’s keynote speaker. “This is for us, the community, to come together and stand together – united. When I hurt, you hurt. When it’s not equal for me, it’s not equal for you. When I rise, you rise.”


Ava Royster, 3, laughs during the International Women’s Day program, which was held in Merritt Commons after the march. Ava Royster, 3, laughs during the International Women’s Day program, which was held in Merritt Commons after the march. The gender equality movement was started in the early 1900s with early suffragettes, who held the first officially-named International

Women’s Day event in 1911 – a pivotal period in American history that was reflected on by Person County Mayor Merilyn Newell.

“Still, to this day, International Women’s Day continues to be a powerful platform – globally – that unifies tenacity and drives action for gender parity, while celebrating the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women,” she said. “Let us continue to work in spirit of the almighty suffragettes, fighting the good fight; and let us recognize, honor and celebrate the important and impressive achievements of women, globally.”


Jonas Love and his mother, Kat, look at a sign that reads, ‘Equality is the soul of justice,’ as they prepare to march through uptown Roxboro. Jonas Love and his mother, Kat, look at a sign that reads, ‘Equality is the soul of justice,’ as they prepare to march through uptown Roxboro. In her keynote address, Thompson urged the crowd to take up the issue of gender parity “right here in the community.”

“Before we get into the international woes and the global aspects of being a woman and wanting to be at the corporate table, can we go back to the kitchen table?” she asked. “Those conversations start in our homes. Can we, right here, recognize that we have our own gifts and talents that we haven’t even tapped into?”


International Women’s Day organizers pose with the banner as they prepare to march through uptown. International Women’s Day organizers pose with the banner as they prepare to march through uptown. Realizing the potential of strong women in the local community, Thompson said, is the first step to bringing about true equality – a sentiment echoed in another comment Hampton shared.

“Here’s to strong women,” Hampton said. “May we know them; may we be them; may we raise them.”



Event organizer Wanda Williams-Pettiford invites all of her fellow organizers to the stage during the program held at Merritt Commons. Event organizer Wanda Williams-Pettiford invites all of her fellow organizers to the stage during the program held at Merritt Commons.

Nila Allen performs with the singing quartet, Lyric, during the program. Nila Allen performs with the singing quartet, Lyric, during the program.

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