Rally held in Durham for International Women’s Day

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Protests and marches are expected across the country today as thousands of women commemorate the struggle for women’s rights.

Today, a local group in Durham is holding a fundraiser to benefit the cause.

The theme of today’s protest is “It’s Time for a Change!” Action NC is asking those to join in “Our Day of Strike,” which is Durham’s International Women’s Day event that began at CCB Plaza at 9:30 a.m.

There will be celebrations of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but the rally will highlight issues such as equal pay and reproductive rights for women.

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The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district – where 75 percent of the employees are women – decided to cancel classes.

Durham Public Schools Board Chair Mike Lee released a statement Wednesday morning defending the district’s decision to not cancel classes:

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education is proud of the work of the women within our system. Teachers, support staff, administrators and district staff: these women are the heart of our school system.

We know that many of our teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other employees will be taking off work today, International Women’s Day, as part of “A Day Without a Woman.” It is this passion that makes these same women some of our very best teachers and employees, and we salute and support them.

At the same time, we believe Superintendent Bert L’Homme made the right decision to hold school today. As a system, we do not believe we can ask our parents to rearrange or miss their own jobs by closing our schools on short notice. We do not want to cause many of our employees to miss a day’s paycheck, and we do not want to miss a day of instruction with our students.

Our principals and staff have been encouraged to find ways to teach students about the historical, and ongoing, fight for equality that is represented by International Women’s Day. We support these efforts.

Without women, there would be no education and no future. We are grateful for the leadership women give to our schools at every level.”

With many staying at home from work and school, Action NC says this will show how important women are to the economy and community.

“This is where it starts. You have to start at home where you have a very progressive city council, very progressive county commission and you have progressive leaders, representatives,” said Gloria De Los Santos with Action NC.

Those in support of the International Women’s Day event are being asked to wear red to today’s rally and at school and work.

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