Women Rally for Choice at Georgia Capitol
(APN) ATLANTA – 800 women and women’s advocates marched on and around the Georgia Capitol today at a rally sponsored by Georgia for Choice.
The theme of the rally was preserving a woman’s choice in being able to have an abortion; however, many issues concerning women were raised.
“I am troubled by my sisters and brothers who lack health care,” Sir Jesse of the Feminist Outlawz said. Jesse spoke of The Beloved Community, “where one person’s struggle is our struggle, where the economic gap is closed.”
“Georgia will not go back! Georgia is not going to be the next South Dakota, Louisiana, or Mississippi,” one organizer said in a speech.
“On March 6, 2006, the governor of South Dakota signed into law a measure deliberately designed to challenge the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. South Dakota’s radical move has woken up many Americans to the very real threats to their health,” a Georgia for Choice press release said.
“This legislative session proved that Georgia’s elected leadership is not that far behind. But Georgians will not sit silently by and watch their human rights be taken away,” the release said.
The rally started at 2pm on the steps of the Capitol Building. There were speakers until 2:30, and then the march started. The march went down Washington to Martin Luther King, then down Peachtree by Atlanta Underground, past Woodruff Park, and back to the Capitol Building.
“Up with animals, yeah yeah! Down with evil, boom boom!” shouted one organizer.
“When women’s voices are missing, the space for those who are against our interests opens up,” Georgia State Rep. Able Mable Thomas said in a speech.
“I thought it was fabulous. I think we’re building a really strong coalition. We were able to talk about immigration, homelessness, lgbt rights, and economic justice,” Mia Mingus, 25, Outreach Coordinator for Georgia for Choice, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“Reproductive Freedom Now!” and “Keep Abortion Legal!” signs said.
“Not the church, not the state, women must decide our fate!” activists cheered during the march.
Numerous candidates for public office showed up, including, but not limited to, US Congressional Candidate Steve Sinton; Lt. Governor Candidates Greg Hecht and Jim Martin; Secretary of State Candidate Angela Moore; State School Superintendent Candidate Carlotta Harrell; Georgia State Senate Candidates RuthE Levy and Nan Orrock; and others.
Atlanta Progressive News also confirmed two rumors. Yes, State Rep. Nan Orrock is running for State Senate for the Midtown Atlanta area seat being vacated by Sam Zamarippa. And yes, Joe Trippi–the former Howard Dean online grassroots guru–has joined Greg Hecht’s campaign as a consultant.
US Rep. Lewis (D-GA) had been scheduled to speak but was unable to make it.
“I think it’s important to show support for freedoms that have been lost,” Hecht told Atlanta Progressive News.
“This is a great event. It’s important people stand up and say Roe v. Wade is a good balance between the rights of government and the rights of the individual,” Martin said.
A contingent of 12 activists came from Rome, Georgia, Jill Crunkleton said. “It’s really impressive. I haven’t been to anything like this before!”
A group also came from Athens, Georgia. “I think it’s really important for us to come out in a big group and show our numbers,” one activist said.
“Georgia state legislators are slowly eroding the right to choose by restricting access to birth control. We’re here to tell them, that’s not gonna fly,” Denise Kilpatrick of Alpharetta, told Atlanta Progressive News.
“I’m here to stand for my rights as well as all other women. This is not just about abortion but about privacy issues in general,” Nikema Williams, a teacher with Atlanta Public Schools, and a member of the Young Democrats of Atlanta, said.
“I am marching, not just for OUR reproductive rights as American Women (and men), but also for the WORLD’s reproductive rights!” Robin Collins, who is a member of WAND and League of Women Voters, said in a prepared statement issued to Atlanta Progressive News.
“It has been the policy of the Bush Administration to tell other countries how they should and should not run their family planning, pregnancy, and HIV prevention and treatment agencies,” Collins said.
Turnout was about what was expected. But what is the potential impact of the march?
“It’s gonna be Georgia that’s the leader of the South. We have so many organizations based here. We’re blessed. It’s going to take this coalition connecting the reproductive freedom movement to other movements,” Mingus said.
Numerous local restaurants donated free food including pizza, lasagna, and hummus.
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the Editor and a National Correspondent of Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.