Toomer’s Corner Sit-In Hosts Women’s March

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PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER

BY HANNAH LESTER
HLESTER@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

The Toomer’s Corner Sit-in hosted one of 650 women’s marches across the United States this past Saturday at Toomer’s Corner.

“On Saturday, the Women’s March Organization encouraged people all over the country to hold sister marches,” said Kelli Thompson, an organizer for the Toomer’s Corner Sit-in. “They were going to, of course, have the big march in DC but with COVID being the way it is, they wanted to really encourage people not gather too much and do stuff in their own towns.

“Given a lot of the activity that’s been going on this month, not only with news in Texas, but our own local news with sexual assault, I just heard a lot of people, heard a lot of talk. ‘Is there going to be anything local nearby? Is there going to be anything? And are we going to do anything on Toomer’s Corner?’”

Thompson said Toomer’s Corner has become a place for conversation and action regarding social and political issues.

There were nine other marches in Alabama this past Saturday.

People gathered at Toomer’s Corner Saturday evening and were able to converse with one another for about an hour before the group marched around Samford Hall and made a loop back to Toomer’s Corner.

Additionally, Thompson said that thanks to donations, the group had postcards on hand ready to send to local and national representatives.

“This particular women’s march was in response to abortion justice throughout the country and to attacks on Roe V. Wade so this particular postcard was designed to say ‘keep abortion safe, legal and rare,’” she said.

Thompson encouraged people to get involved by joining the Toomer’s Sit-In every evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Thank you for everyone who came out because I know that it’s a tough subject to stand up for,” she said.

Damarius Nolan-Watts is a regular member of the Toomer’s Corner Sit-In but Saturday was his first Women’s March.

PHOTO BY HANNAH LESTER / THE OBSERVER

“I’ve seen the Women’s Marches on social media and TV and I wanted to take part,” he said.

Being a part of the march is a way to “live out our dream”, Nolan-Watts said, referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech.

“Not only me, but I guess everybody felt at home in this space right here,” he said. “… Don’t be afraid to come out of your shell a little bit. Speak often and keep your ears open.”

Toomer’s Corner Sit-In updates the public regularly on the interactions at the corner. The organization can be found on Instagram here: www.instagram.com/toomerssitin/.

“I would like to encourage people that it can be very overwhelming in these times and it can be very easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed so please find any way to plugin,” Thompson said. “Find any organization, locally, that is doing work that can help you feel engaged and empowered in this moment because there is no more powerful one person in a representational democracy than a citizen and so we have to engage that power this very moment.”

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