On Saturday, our dedicated Fem2.0 bloggers Christina Black and Maggie Arden met up at Upper Senate Park for the DC Walk for Choice. Here are their impressions, what they learned and their hopes for the future.
This was only my second rally, ever. The first was Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity last fall. So I didn’t know what to expect. I was excited to hear that we would have an event in DC – after reading about the New York and Chicago walks/rallies, I didn’t want to miss out. And I wanted to express my support, of course.
The group was smaller than I expected, but I still knew when I had arrived. I saw a sea of bright orange shirts. I also saw all the stereotypical protest trappings: bullhorns, punchy signs, and chanting. I grabbed a t-shirt (“Large or extra-large?”) and borrowed a sign from Maggie. It was double-sided: my options were either “77% of pro-life activists are men. 100% will never be pregnant,” or, “Women should have power over their own ovaries.” Both good choices (thanks, Maggie!).
We estimated that there were a few hundred fellow protesters. Less than the 1,000 expected, but still a considerable number considering the short prep time the organizers had. We heard a few words of wisdom from Erin Matson at NOW and representatives of other local groups (whose names I unfortunately didn’t catch). The gist of it was that we need to remember what’s important—women, reproductive freedom, self-determination—and continue to reach out to others (including our representatives) to remind them of this.
It wasn’t that long ago that a video was filmed inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide. A few days later, I received a fundraising letter from the Metro DC Planned Parenthood clinic. I didn’t even have to think about it before pulling out my debit card and filling out the donation card. (You can donate to Planned Parenthood here.)
I proudly stand up with Planned Parenthood. Not too long ago, I did not have health insurance, and I turned to Planned Parenthood. I was able to see a doctor, and pay something I could afford – and get a prescription. It is difficult to express the relief you feel when you finally get needed care, and someone doesn’t treat you like dirt because you don’t have health insurance.
With relief and excitement, I rearranged my schedule for Saturday, ready to stand up for my rights and those of women around the country. While it was only a few hundred of us that showed up on Saturday to make our voices heard in DC, we were just a small part of a big moment – 55 cities around the world! I did something I have never been organized enough to do before: I made signs to take with me!
The message of the day could not have been more important: our rights are being trampled on. We cannot and will not, sit quietly by and hope for the best. It has felt as though the world is flipping upside down, slowly at times and then faster and faster. Why is this happening? Why are we moving backwards in so many ways – not just in women’s rights?
I couldn’t help but compare Saturday to the March for Women’s Lives in 2004. At 21 and just out of college, I bought a plane ticket to DC within days of hearing about the March and hoped it would be as big as I thought it would be. It was amazing! I feel the time has come for another March. Saturday was a great start and an amazing showing around the country and the world. I want to see more of it. And I will be there to make my voice heard again and again.
Did you go to a Walk for Choice? Send us your story!