CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Many abortion-rights activists chose to protest instead of picnic over the holiday weekend. Nearly 500 people gathered at Romare Bearden Park for ‘Women’s March: We Won’t Go Back’ Sunday evening.

Protesters said they will not celebrate Independence Day in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“Right now, there’s something more important than celebrating the Fourth of July,” said protestor Alex Curry.

Curry attended the rally with her friend Grace Houle. Both women recently became old enough to vote and want to stay civically engaged.

“We stand here today, not only for the women of North Carolina, but in states around us and other women around the South who are at risk of their rights being taken away,” Houle said.

Some protesters say seeing young women like Houle and Curry reminds them of why they take the time and energy to demonstrate.

“I’m here for my daughters and their generation,” said protester Claire Coughter. “We can’t celebrate the Fourth of July because we have lost our independence.”

Coughter and her husband Jerry were among the large group publicly objecting to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson which effectively eliminates federal protections to abortion.

They said ‘patriotism’ feels complicated now.

“It’s so troubling that the rest of the industrialized world is going in the other direction and we’re going backwards,” Coughter said. “It’s not American.”

While some people celebrate the ruling as a protection of life, others say it undermines years of work for women’s rights – thus inspiring the tag line of Sunday’s march “We Won’t Go Back.”

Parents at the event said they want their children to not just witness, but help write the next chapter of history.

“I think it’s important to teach them at their age what is the most important so they can know how to acknowledge and combat that and when they get older say, ‘hey I wasn’t taught that and I want to do better for me and my generation,’” said Parron Baxter. “I hope our kids understand that women’s rights are human rights.”

“We don’t want our kids to ask ‘what were our parents doing at that time? Were they just sitting down and not standing up for our rights?’ No,” said Liz Holmes Baxter

The group marched for nearly an hour Sunday night. Organizers encouraged participants to continue marching, protesting and speaking out over the next few weeks during the ‘summer of rage.’