The rally for Vermilion Parish teacher Deyshia Hargrave began Thursday afternoon under rainy skies in Magdalen Square. Hargrave spoke briefly to the crowd, urging the children in the crowd to continue to speak up and to work for justice because "you matter."
"I teach kids daily to speak out when they see something that is wrong," she said.
Hargrave said she was denied her First Amendment rights and she was shocked. Here are her complete remarks:
The crowds started to arrive at 3:00 pm and organizers say that the event will go on "rain or shine." Those attending are asked to wear black in solidarity with Hargrave. Hargrave was arrested Monday evening at a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting. Read more on that story here
The rally was held in Magdelen Square in Abbeville.
At the rally, numerous people spoke through cloudy skies and light rain. The crowd of people assembled often chanting "We will Rise" and "Stand with Deyshia" to show support for Hargrave.
Speakers included officials from the Louisiana and Vermilion Associations of Educators, along with parents and educators in Vermilion Parish. Each mentioned Hargrave having the courage and willingness to speak up for teachers and staff while at the meeting.
Fellow educators took to the microphone, voicing their opinions on how this incident could affect students.
"I feel like as a teacher I have a vested interest in what happens to our students and how best to help them. And by silencing her, they overlooked a resource instead of using one," Broussard said.
Cafeteria workers from Rene Rost also came to show their supporting, saying what happened to Hargrave was cruel.
Persistence was a common theme of the rally. Numerous speakers mentioned the line "Nevertheless she persisted" made famous after Senator Elizabeth Warren was cut off by Senator Mitch McConnell during a speech she was giving against then-nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. That line has been used by many in the women's rights movement.
Jim Hummel was live with a preview at 3:20 pm before the rally started.