TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) – Community members gathered for Women’s Marches in Johnson City and Bristol on Saturday.
Bristol’s march was organized by the Sullivan County Democratic Party.
“It’s really important that the people in this area know that it’s ok to speak out for your bodily rights, it’s ok to speak out for your personal freedoms,” said Vice-Chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Party Terry Marek. “That’s what we’re here doing.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin oral arguments in a case that could determine the future of abortion rights for Americans. This year, local marches focused on advocating against abortion restrictions.
“It’s devastating,” Marek said. “It’s really really unfair, and it’s also unfair to me as a male in this society to have to say, ‘Hey what is wrong with ya’ll to put rules against a woman controlling her own body.'”
The event in Bristol was one of more than 500 organized marches nationwide. A march was held in Johnson City from King Commons to Founders Park as well.
“I’ve pretty much always been a social activist, but the women’s issues are very important to me,” said participant Sam Miller.
“We need to speak up for privacy, for people’s rights to control their own bodies, and for equality as citizens,” Pat Buck, one of the volunteer organizers for Johnson City’s march, said.
Participants said ultimately, the day was all about bringing their community together and having their voices heard.
“It really matters that we have a voice in this county,” Marek said. “We come here to this sign, to the very big, iconic, local symbol that it is a good place to live, and we agree with that, and we’re part of the American system.”