Women's Day Rally in Harrisonburg

Mar 13, 2017

Last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. To celebrate, local organizers held a march in Harrisonburg from the Rockingham County Administration Building to a rally at Court Square on Saturday. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz filed this report.

It was cold, but about 230 women, men, and children marched and rallied in the sunshine Saturday morning to proclaim the year’s International Women’s Day theme “Be Bold for Change.” Among them was 10-year-old Jumana Al Saadoon, holding a poster that said, “Girl Power.”

JUMANA AL SAADOON: Everyone can do everything.

Her mother, Shaymaa Al Saadoon, is a two-time refugee, from Iraq and then Syria. She was a math teacher in Iraq, and spoke about her ongoing quest to return to that profession.

SHAYMAA AL SAADOON: Now I move to high school as a math assistant teacher with ESL students (cheering). This is a first step for me to be a math teacher again.

Veronica Noel, from what is now South Sudan, stood by Hagar Ahmed, who is from Sudan.

HAGAR AHMED: We're here standing side by side to say to our president back home, “You can divide the country, but you cannot divide us.” We are here as sisters, as mothers, and one family. We are one community.

Travis Anderson attended from Augusta County.

TRAVIS ANDERSON: I'm worried about my daughter's future, and I'm hopeful that we can switch gears here soon and make things better for her future.

Connie Gull said she is the first Kurdish woman owner of a business in Harrisonburg.

CONNIE GULL: I never give up. I'm never scared of anything. I'm fighting for the others. They need to get more freedom.

It’s a spirit that Deanna Reed, mayor of Harrisonburg, invoked at the start of the rally.

DEANNA REED: Inspired by these examples of bold action, we can continue the centuries-old work and the progress that is the quest for gender parity and equality. Thank you women -- thank you all -- for being bold for change.