(Really incredible video, seen on feministing, giving more reasons why Planned Parenthood’s funding shouldn’t be cut).
So this weekend I went home to attend DC’s Walk for Choice, a largescale response to the current attacks on women’s health and women’s rights. Rallies were held all round the country at the same time to signify that women will not take these GOP assaults lying down, and that we will fight back. The New York rally boasted a 6,000 person attendance, with a cadre of pro-choice leaders speaking at the event, including Kathleen Hanna, Cecile Richards, and Rep. Anthony Weiner whose amazing defense of women’s rights has been circulating the internet for a few days now.
To be totally honest, to say I was disappointed would be the understatement of the fucking century. There I was, in the nation’s capital, attending a rally outside the Capitol building itself, a rally with the intention of protecting choice and women’s rights and all that, and there were what–200 people in attendance? That’s not to say the people who did come out weren’t enthusiastic and caring and passionate, because they were. But a rally for choice in the heart of DC couldn’t garner more attention? It couldn’t have more attendees? To be honest, I just don’t understand the lack of participation. An organization donated 500 t-shirts to the event, and there was a SURPLUS. Let me say that again… less than 500 people attended a rally in D.C. to protect Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.
I’m pretty much flummoxed. And others felt the same — scrolling through tumblr looking at rally photos from D.C. that day, most participants had something to say along the lines of — “really? that was it?” I don’t want to blame anyone, point fingers, because really I have no idea why there was such little turn out. I heard of the rally via tumblr and then facebook, so if you have neither of those things, you may have been out of the loop. Perhaps organizers didn’t reach out to local groups, universities, and campus groups. Given that it was the closest rally to Virginia, perhaps an effort should have been made to reach out to feminist campus groups in this state. And then campus groups could have organized carpools and the like to get people out.
We need to show strength in numbers. We needed this to be fucking huge to show the lawmakers who passed the Pence Amendment that IT IS NOT OKAY and that we are going to fight back, and we’re going to be bitches, because in the immortal words of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on SNL, bitches get shit done. And bitches in numbers will get even more done.
This post may make it seem like the youth doesn’t care, a criticism that is constantly levied against my generation. But that’s a lie. I don’t mean to say that people aren’t caring and I don’t mean to give evidence to the idea that young women don’t care about their rights. We care. We care a whole fucking lot. We care to organize, to make a difference. This blog itself should be perfect evidence that we care about a range of issues, that we’re informed about these issues, and that we want to change the status quo. Internet activism, like this blog, is vitally important. Look at Sady Doyle’s #mooreandme and #dearjohn campaigns… both were successful. Moore and me got Michael Moore himself to apologize for his rape-apologist comments in defense of Julian Assange, and #dearjohn had no small part in the removal of the language to change the definition of rape in an amendment that was debated in the House. And think about it: maybe only 200 people came out, and maybe we should have more, we certainly should have had more, but that was 200 predominantly young women (and a surprisingly large number of men) who hauled ass to a rally in D.C. for choice. Think about how many more have blogged about it, have talked to people about it, have written to their Congresspeople about it. Think about the young woman in the video posted above, who shared her personal story because she cares about Planned Parenthood and choice and women’s rights. Think about all the others who have posted similar videos. That’s a lot of people who care.
You all should now checkout feministing.com’s report on the rally in NYC!