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10 YEARS LATER

It's been 10 years since Joelle Davis Carter organized a group of 100 black women from Winthrop University to take a stand for women's empowerment by attending the Million Woman March in Philadelphia.

Tonight, Carter will put on the black sweatshirt she wore that day -- the one with the names of her 99 sisters and the symbol for "a call to bear arms" -- and will attend an event recognizing the 10-year anniversary of the march.

The Million Woman March brought women of all ages together to inspire them to be empowered and take back their communities.

Organizers estimated 2.1 million people attended. Police estimates ranged from 300,000 to 1 million people.

The march drew attention to issues affecting black women, including civil rights and the start of independent black schools.

A re-enactment of the march will begin on the steps of Byrnes Auditorium at Winthrop tonight and will end at Dinkins Student Center with a speech and panel discussion inside. The event will include alumni who attended the march and current students, faculty and community members.

Carter, who was then the coordinator of multicultural affairs, said she hopes participants will reflect on what progress has been made since the march and on what still needs to be done.

The panel will discuss the survival of women of color on a predominantly white campus.

"We're hoping that students on campus will have a sense of togetherness as women, learning how to respect each other, learning about the issues that affect women and learning what they can do to make sure women's issues are at the forefront," said Gloria Kelley, head of technical services at Winthrop, who helped organize the event.

The march left a lasting impression on participants such as Mamie Bush, a 2000 graduate and now chairwoman of the Winthrop black alumni council, who said the march taught her to stand up and make her voice heard.

After the march, Bush went on to become a leader on campus and student body president.

"If you can imagine going to heaven as a woman and every influential woman or every woman who somehow touched you positively was there, that's what it was like," Bush said.

Bush, who helped organize tonight's event, stressed that women and men of any race are welcome.

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