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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

DC - Unite Against the War on Women

By: Liberate Zealot

So I promised to live tweet the rally, and then lost my phone (yay ADD!) right before heading down.  However, I had a roommate to be my photographer and I'm doing a post on it now.

The Washington DC rally was in the same place the Feb. March for Choice was last year (Upper Senate Park)  which I went to last year.  This one was much better organized, they had more time, so the sound equipment was so much better (there was a stage and we could hear everything, even at the back of the crowd).  There was music and a wonderful variety of knowledgeable and skilled speakers who came from a variety of organizations and perspectives.  It really was, at the title of the rally said, about uniting against the War on Women. 

The speakers included Catholics, protestants, atheists,  college students, middle aged people, men, women, immigrants, people born in the US, white people, people of color, cis and trans women, and poor and middle class people.  They were all very talented and insightful, but I did have 3 or 4 favorites. 

  Mara Keisling is the founding executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. In her own words she's a white, over educated, middle class, middle aged, transgender women.  She spoke about trans people having politically controlled medical care, how that and trans people in general relate to and suffer from the War on Women.  She also spoke about intersectionality, and violence and hate. She specifically spoke about CeCe McDonald.  A young, poor, black trans women who is undergoing trial this week for murder charges related to her and her friends defense of them selves while being targets of what should be classified a hate crime. 

Callie Otto and Eric Orantes started and head the The Catholic University Students for Choice.  They discussed the differences between Catholics and Catholic institutions when it comes to abortion, contraceptives, and the separation of church and state.  They also spoke about their work to educate their peers about safer sex and to help them get access to contraceptives (condoms) while facing the risk of expulsion if they didn't successfully navigate following the letter of the law. 

Melody Hensley is with the Center for Inquiry an organization that works for a secular and scientific society.  She spoke about being a foster child, and poor, and a statistic.  She spoke about her own abortion at the age of 20.  She spoke about the importance of choice and trusting women.  How having an abortion when you're not ready or able to be pregnant or a parent is just as responsible as having a child when you are able and ready.  She spoke about the connection of reproductive rights and economics. And the law and politics being based on science, not religious dogma. 

Derrick Ashong is a naturalized citizen.  He spoke about growing up in West Africa and Arabia among Muslims (while not being one himself).  He spoke about how the US can be an example to other countries, and a source of hope among people who are striving for equality.  He also spoke about the importance on continued struggle and not resting on our laurels.  How rights must be fought to get, and how we must fight to keep them while also fighting for all our rights and real, true freedom and equality.

Now one of my favorite parts of any protest/rally/march is seeing all the signs...

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