By Bri Carr, Staff Writer-
A solidarity march for justice was hosted by UTC organization, “Young Democratic Socialists of America,” on Sunday, Oct. 4. The event was scheduled to start at noon at the Bessie Smith Hall on MLK Blvd.
The event was in honor of Black & Queer Liberation month, with attendance from people of all races who came to support the organization and additionally, the movement for justice.
Signs were put, reminding people that their opinions mattered, with the saying, “your voice, your vote.”
Refreshments were offered to marchers and an information table was set up for those who wanted to be more informed on the community, as well as a sign up sheet for those who wanted to volunteer for the organization and movement.
The march started at 12:35 p.m. with water passed around and extra flags given out. People traveled on the sidewalk, making sure to abide traffic laws, and stay safe for close to five miles around downtown Chattanooga, before looping back to Bessie Smith Hall.
Although there were many people who joined in with the marchers’ enthusiasm by honking or simply sticking their hands out of their cars to wave, there were also hateful patrons who did not agree with the cause.
Chen Schobert, one of the organizers of the Black & Queer Liberation March, explained the big picture and what he felt the march, as well as the movement, could accomplish for Chattanooga’s community.
“What we do hope to accomplish from this march is…we hope to actually start to build a coalition that will work for that liberation, that will work for black and brown queer lives, indigenous people, and trans people.” He stated.
He also expressed his feelings on Chattanooga’s lack in resources for the LGBTQ+ community.
“Chattanooga has a lacking support and resources for queer individuals, trans individuals, and especially black and brown individuals,” he said.
Before the march started, Schobert gave a brief speech on the purpose for the march, his hopes that the community will start to receive more resources in the future and wished everyone a Happy Liberation Month.
The event was organized with legal observers watching for the safety of marchers, a medic, as well as motorcycle bikers following closely on the road to make sure the marchers were well-supported and safe.
Another organizer of the Black & Queer Liberation march, “Elena,” gave a speech on safety, while marching at the event. She gave personal insight to the personal harassment she received as well as being misgendered constantly.
She also made it clear that marchers should not engage with those who had hateful outlooks of the organization or the LGBTQ+ community along the way of the march.
An anonymous resident of Chattanooga who attended the march shared her opinion on how she felt about the organization and march.
“It’s a point of expression…this is a place where I can finally be myself and I can be with a community that loves and accepts me so that’s really what the march is all about for me.” She said.
UTC’s “Young Democratic Socialists of America” can be found on Facebook for questions regarding future events and volunteering opportunities.