Protest tomorrow on legislature's assault on women's rights | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 22, 2013

Protest tomorrow on legislature's assault on women's rights

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 6:38 AM


A reminder of the social media-driven rally at the Capitol at 3 p.m. Saturday over the legislature's unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on women's medical rights.

Some 1,400 women have indicated a willingness to participate. All it takes is showing up. A news release follows on planned speakers and the background of the organizing.

State Senator Joyce Elliott, long a champion of women and children in Arkansas, will be the featured speaker at Saturday’s grassroots Protest at the Arkansas Capitol grounds.

Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas for the past 20 years, will also be there to share her insights with protesters standing against what they see as capricious overreach, on the part of the State Legislature’s ultra-conservative majority.

Greer Williams and Rain Calibotta, spoken word artists and cultural activists, use powerful poetic images to examine the deeper roots of presumptions about women and our culture.

Jaime Goswick, wife, mother of two, and humanist minister, will talk about what prompted her to do what sparked the protest this coming weekend. She invited her friends via Facebook, to join her in a protest at the State Capitol, and to pass the invitation on to their friends.

More than 1,400 people have indicated on the group’s Facebook page that they will attend, at 3 p.m. on the eastern steps of the Capitol. The event has been coordinated by a core group of 25 to 30 volunteers who have used social media both to plan and to publicize the event.

“In less than one week from the time we announced this — just on Facebook and Twitter — we already had more than a thousand people signed up to go, to buy ads, to make signs, to bring carpools from all over the state,” said Nancy Colburn, one of the event organizers.

Ms. Goswick and the other organizers say the most important speakers on Saturday will be the crowd. The largest share of time will be reserved for an “open mic” for those who want to express their own feelings about this legislature in their own words.

The theme of the rally is “Stop The War On Women,” and the posters show images of an angry Rosie the Riveter. “That choice is purposeful,” said Allyn Dodd, who designed the posters. “We are all angry — angry that we have been degraded and disregarded by our legislators during this whole process. We are reminding the entire state that when women flocked into the industrial workforce in 1942, we are the ones who kept this nation going. We deserve consideration from our government, and we are demanding it.”

Information on car pools, as well as graphics which can be downloaded and printed for signs, are available at the group’s facebook page, Protest at the Arkansas Capitol or Signs are encouraged, but attendees are reminded that the signs may not be on sticks, according to State Capitol grounds regulations.

Organizers say the group is committed to nonviolence, and though the attendees are there to express their outrage, they are there to show their resolve as well. “Saturday is not just to be a flash in the pan, but rather the beginning of showing up in all our numbers, to guard our civil liberties,” the group’s Claudia Reynolds-LeBlanc said. “We are law-abiding people, and we intend to hold our legislators to that same standard. Right now our legislature is passing unconstitutional bills one after the other, with blatant disdain for the rights not only of women, but of all the people of Arkansas.”

Nancy Colburn added, “We will be loud and we will speak our minds, and we will be noticed, but we will be respectful of the law, peace, and human dignity.”

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