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At Roanoke rally, abortion rights supporters say they won't go quietly

With chants of "I'm with her" and "This is what democracy looks like," a couple of hundred people gathered outside Roanoke’s federal courthouse late Monday morning. Organizers called it a Freedom for All protest on this Independence Day.

But for many, like Cyania Cooper, it was no holiday. "I’m a Black woman that exists in America and partially my rights are being taken away," Cooper said. "So I do this or I can sit back and do nothing and just let them be taken away."

Jordan Blankenship took some comfort from the size of the crowd. "Especially here in Roanoke in the Southwest, it’s not as progressive as Northern Virginia. So it’s really good to see a good crowd out here."

Speakers who addressed the crowd, including state Senator John Edwards, said it wasn’t just the Supreme Court’s recent abortion ruling that concerns them. They're also worried that the court has signaled it might reconsider voting and LGBTQ rights. They encouraged people to organize, vote and not go quietly.

Cyania Cooper said speaking out is a first step. "I would be optimistic and say voting can be done about it. But we see that hasn’t worked too well in the past. I’m not really sure," she admitted. "Right now I guess this is just the first step protesting and coming out and doing whatever you can do to prevent it from going any further."

David Seidel is proud to lead the journalists at Radio IQ and WVTF as news director. David joined the newsroom in May 2017 and brings more than 20 years of experience in broadcast journalism in Virginia. Prior to joining Radio IQ David was an assistant news director, assignment manager and producer at WDBJ Television in Roanoke. He also worked as a reporter for WHSV Television in Harrisonburg. David graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington with degrees in journalism and history.