Celebrating independence or protesting loss of freedoms, Raleigh saw different July 4th gatherings

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Monday, July 4, 2022
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People in downtown Raleigh on July 4 explained to ABC11 what Independence Day means to them.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- From frustrated protest to reverent celebration, downtown Raleigh proved Americans were choosing different ways to observe this Independence Day.

Along East Morgan Street, McKenzie Klavitter was one of dozens of people coming out Monday morning for a protest in support of abortion rights.

"Usually, (July 4th means to me) independence of our country. But the past few years, between (Black Lives Matter) and different women's rights issues, we haven't really seen a whole lot of that. So this year, we're out here fighting for our independence," explained Klavitter.

Many people held signs and made personalized t-shirts to express their frustrations after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.

"Growing up, it was a very, you go out, you celebrate, you have your hot dogs and your picnics and stuff. Now that I'm older and I have a lot more interest in what's actually happening right now, today means just another day of we need to go out and fight for change. Because things need to get better, and they're not going to get better until we go out and we elect people, and we make it better ourselves," said Taylor Carnevale-Somerset, who attended the protest.

While the ruling has not impacted abortion access in North Carolina, strict regulations are now in effect in other states.

"For those who aren't protected medically, it makes me mad, and it makes me very upset and scared for my daughter," Klavitter said.

"Nobody can tell anybody what to do with their own body. Only one person can judge somebody and that's God," added Vanilla Loville, who explained while she would not get an abortion, she supported others' rights to make such a decision.

Protestors marched around the Capitol grounds, where a July 4th celebratory event was taking place, featuring live music.

"The people that made the sacrifices and put their lives on the line for the freedom we enjoy today. From, I think about the American Revolution, War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam. Everything we've had going on around the world, (in) the Middle East. I remember them," said Kevin Allen, when asked what July 4th meant to him.

"It really encapsulates that idea that America is for everybody. Rich or poor, Black or white, male, female. And it's just something that - the imperfections, we're always working at to bring it in," added Charles Malone, a Vietnam veteran.

Malone, a Raleigh native who previously ran for state Senate and Congress, discussed the sacrifices of others.

"You go to the Vietnam Wall, and you see people who are not able to enjoy what I have. And never would have families, and never would have grandkids, and the fruits of being an American. They gave that up," Malone said.