I thought my few - but loyal! - followers (aka my roommate) might like to see an article I wrote for my newswriting class this past spring about the Unite Women rally in DC on April 29. I did get an A on it! The article was written on April 30, 2012.
Small but dedicated crowd at the Unite against the War on Women D.C. Rally
By Corinne Falotico
Anastasia Merinova walked into Upper Senate Park this Saturday at three p.m. expecting an angry mass of feminists, but merely saw a small crowd filled with a few signs.
“I was a little disappointed because I expected more people,” said freshman Anastasia Merinova. “But as I stood there for a while, I realized that the people who were there were really passionate.”
UniteWomen.org hosted rallies in over forty states this past Saturday to protest the Republican “war on women” that has been a hot topic in politics lately. Many people believe that a war is being waged by the Republican Party against women because politicians have produced over 1100 bills nationwide that attempt to control women in the areas of abortion, contraception, equal pay, and personhood.
The Washington, D.C. Unite Women rally was held in Upper Senate Park and was packed with speakers, including former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. Many of the other speakers were assembled at the last minute yet still managed to get the crowd riled up against the “war.”
“Despite of all the rhetoric, –especially from the right –part of the reason that women are oppressed around the world is because when men feel uncomfortable, they take it out on the people closest to them –women,” said Derrick Ashong, one of the event’s speakers and founder of the niche advertising company, Take Back the Mic. “Men especially need to learn to respect and honor the rights of women.”
Ashong was one of the more well-known speakers at the rally, but many of the event’s organizers and volunteers also shared their stories.
“To me, the war on women means that someone is telling me when to have children,” said event organizer Kemyta Terry. “I don’t like that.”
“I think the speakers that I saw were very passionate,” Merinova said. “They were very interesting because each speech covered different topics.”
In addition to Granholm, Ashong, and Terry, other speakers included:
- Sara Hutchinson from Catholics for Choice
- Soraya Chemaly of the Huffington Post
- The Rev. Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers
- Mara Keisling, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality
- Erin Matson of the National Organization for Women
- Callie Otto and Eric Orantes of Catholic University Students for Choice
- Melody Hensley of the Center for Inquiry
Another aspect of the rally that really stood out to Merinova was the posters. Each poster was filled with unique phrases, including:
· “If I wanted the government in my vagina, I’d f**k a senator.”
· “This body is not a political battle ground.”
· “If men could get pregnant, there would be NO debate on contraception and abortion rights.”
· “I am an autonomous person, not an incubator.”
· “You’re being so transvaginal right now.”
· “Let’s talk about the elephant in the womb.”
· “Don’t let the state decide a woman’s fate.”
“They were witty,” Merinova said. “But the best part was a dog's shirt which said ‘stay out of my mom's crotch and I'll stay out of yours.’”
“I thought it was a beautiful event,” said freshman Sierra Schwartz. “But I was slightly disappointed because I thought there would be more people and press. Nevertheless, the passion of the crowd was inspiring.”
When asked what she thought of the speakers though, Scwartz shrugged and cracked a smile.
“I honestly was too busy playing with that dog to listen to the speakers.”
And now it's time for some fun, feline commentary:
A horrifying picture of myself at the event. Notice my professional notepad and band-aid-on-knee.
KITTY VIDEO TIME!
KITTY VIDEO TIME!
As you can see kitties of all sizes, colors and fur united at the rally!