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Several hundred people – women, girls, men and boys – matched through downtown as part of the Black Mountain Women’s March Jan. 20.

The 9:30 a.m. event kicked off with speeches at Town Square before proceeding down State and Dougherty streets. Black Mountain Police helped the marchers get across the streets safely. The event was held on the same day that women’s marches were being held across the country.

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“I’m so proud of our community, the way the march (brought together) women, girls, supporting men, of all ages,” Sarah Vekasi, organizer of the Black Mountain march, said afterward.

She was pleased by the diversity of causes that came together for the march “because,” she said, “our umbrella is so large that it supports equal access to health care, education, immigrants’ rights, pay equity, getting all rape kits tested” and trying to change American culture so that identifying as part of the MeToo Movement is done with delight because the nation’s collective attitude toward women and girls has turned respectful.

“This is good,” town alderman Carlos Showers said after the march, “because it brings Black Mountain together and stands us as one with the rest of the world. It shows the people at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that we care, that we’re not going to back down from his (President Trump’s) intimidation and his bullying. Black Mountain is an integral part of what’s going on in this nation.”

It doesn’t matter that Black Mountain is a small town among thousands of towns, cities and communities in the United States, he said. Each voice, no matter how small, adds to the cacophony of people demanding the rights and the protections the marchers assembled in support of, he said.

“Like those kids over there,” Showers said, pointing to a group of girls singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” from the big rocking chairs in the square. “Those kids are speaking out for everybody right now, showing them that they care. This is their life, they want to be a part of it. And they’re being a part of it. And that’s great. That’s great.”

The march in Black Mountain did marchers “tremendous good on a personal level to see the solidarity and commitment of their neighbors and their friends,” Vekasi said. “Today, small communities and town are rising up, and women are on fire. It does us more good to gather in our small towns because we get to see who lives here and what we care about.”

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