A 10-year-old Raleigh girl's letter to her principal about why she's out of school today as part of the national " A Day Without a Woman" protest has gone viral.
The national protest comes on International Women's Day, which marks the fight for women's rights. Across the country, women are taking the day off to wear red, lobby officials for women's issues and support women-owned businesses. In the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools, so many teachers are taking the day off that the system is closed for the day.
After a weekend dinner discussion about civic engagement, Lottie Pare, a Raleigh fifth grader in the Wake County Public School System, wrote the letter that's now been read around the world. Mom Laura Moreschi shared it on Twitter on Monday morning.
Then, the internet did what it does with these sorts of things. Moreschi's original tweet has been liked more than 1,700 times and retweeted nearly 600 times, at last check.
Lottie's letter to her principal outlines her plans for her day off from school and also promises she'll get her school work done.
"I am going to write a letter to the editor, contact my congressman and do whatever I can to make my voice heard," she wrote.
Inspired, Lottie's seven-year-old sister Tori also put pencil to paper, writing a similar letter that Moreschi also shared on Twitter, where it's been retweeted thousands of times and also picked up by some publications, along with the Women's March's Instagram account.
Tori and Lottie's sixth grade sister opted to go to middle school today. It's more difficult to keep up with fast-paced middle school classes when you miss a day, Moreschi said. But she wore red and encouraged her friends to wear red to school.
Striking, said Moreschi, "is a privilege and there are other ways to support a cause if you can't strike."
So far, today, Lottie has been busy fielding interview requests, including a spot on the Headline News Network. She also plans to call her government representatives and write letters. And, between interviews, she's reading about women's rights leaders, including Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activitist for female education and a Nobel Prize winner.
The family also plans to eat lunch at Caroll's Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant in downtown Raleigh that supports homeless women.
"I've definitely thought a lot more about what I'm doing and the impact and equality in three days than I have for a very long time," Lottie said. "It's been really interesting and really fun for me to do this kind of stuff. I think I made other people think too when I did this."
The experience also has left the family with some lessons about social media.
"I was pretty surprised when mom told me how far it has gone," Lottie said. "I was really surprised how fast everything happened. I think people also need to realize that when they post things on the internet."
Said Moreschi: "It's been completely overwhelming. It's been a very good lesson for us all about the power of social media."
But, she said, people, for the most part, have been supportive and gracious.
"I felt people thought it was a voice of the future," she said.
Added Lottie: "We're the next generation. We know what we're talking about."