Thousands of people rallied in downtown Raleigh Saturday to support the worldwide March for Science, under the slogan "Science, not Silence."
With over six hundred cities participating worldwide, the march demonstrated support for the scientific process—and for the role science should play in policymaking. The marches also arose in protest of President Trump's proposals to slash funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, including nearly $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, as well his rollbacks of anti-climate-change initiatives.
In Raleigh, people gathered at Shaw University's Estey Hall. Then, with signs that read, "There's no Planet B" and "Science Is the Future," they marched toward Moore Square.
For organizer Ginnie Hench, the March for Science was about scientists standing in solidarity with one another.
"I'm here because people working in agencies that monitor and protect our commonly shared environment are facing a much greater attack," she said. "When we're talking about our air, water, and soil, spaces that defy state lines and national boundaries, we must have a robust and resilient infrastructure where skilled scientists can thrive and take pride in what they do. As well, those who are working in the private sector shouldn't be given gag orders if they want to talk about any of these problems."
Others who spoke at the rally, such as federal scientist Tamara Tal, discussed how budget cuts under the Trump administration might hurt the scientific community.
"There's a reason we have flu vaccines every year and we can combat rapidly evolving public health threats like Zika," she said. "It's called the Centers for Disease Control. There's a reason we have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and that there's no longer lead in paint or gasoline. It's called the Environmental Protection Agency. ... So, who are these cuts going to hurt? They're going to hurt federal researchers and scientists like us. In the Research Triangle Park alone, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency employ over thirty-five hundred workers."
This article appeared in print with the headline "+RALLY FOR REALITY."