Raleigh March for Science draws huge crowd downtown

Saturday, April 22, 2017
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ABC11 Eyewitness Photo

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and many right here in the Triangle, are taking part in the March for Science today.

It's an initiative to show the important role science plays in our government, economy and lives.

A large crowd turned out for the Raleigh March for Science - but organizers said the movement is not political.

"Part of our message is that science shouldn't be political," said John Cooper, a UNC medical student and march organizer. "Science is more about the pursuit of truth. It's more about making decisions based on evidence."

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Denying scientific evidence is something Cooper said happens on both sides of the political aisle.

"People who have come out against for instance vaccine, people who have come out against climate change," he said. "Make your own decision on what you were going to do with that evidence, but don't deny the evidence."

It's that same sentiment they want everyone to walk away with from the march, according to organizer Bailey Bruce.

"We want evidence-based policy to be enacted, but we also want community engagement with science," Bruce said.

In addition to the 2,000 people expected in downtown Raleigh, more than 100 Duke University students and professors plan to head to Washington, D.C. to join the national movement; the march is also pushing for federal funding.

"The EPA is being cut, the NIH is being cut - those are incredibly scary for a lot of people, including myself," Bruce said.

While some argue President Donald Trump's proposed budget creates anti-science cuts - others say the march is not anti-Trump at all.

"This problem is not limited to Donald Trump," Cooper said. "It's not limited to his administration. It's been there for years.

"You know this has been 30, 40 years and really there's always been people, I think, at some level who have been denying science," he added.

You can find more information on the Raleigh March for Science here.

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