Feminists Gather At Rally For Women's Rights
Advocates gathered in support of women's rights at a rally organized by Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD) on Saturday. On the corner of Wilshire and Western Avenue, men, women and kids carried signs, participated in chants and listened to speeches from WORD organizers.
WORD is not affiliated with a political party. "Women didn’t vote to get the right to vote. These are struggles won by mass action. We’re certainly not telling people not to vote, or not to vote Democrat, but our focus is on building an independent movement in the streets," said WORD Los Angeles-based organizer, Danielle Norwood.
Chants and signs were the cornerstone of the rally- anything to convey WORD's messages to passing drivers and Metro riders. Supporters sang out in cheers of "Not the church, not the state; women will decide their fate!" and "Anti-choice men have got to go; when you get pregnant let us know!"
A relatively new women's rights organization, WORD organizers rallied to spread its mission and ask supporters to sign onto their pledge. WORD's women's rights pledge states, "I pledge to never vote for any legislation that limits or restricts women’s right to abortion or attempts to circumvent women’s full access to healthcare.”
Though the organization has not publicly endorsed any candidates, it was clear from the rally who they are not supporting. Missouri candidate for U.S. Senator Todd Akin and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan were two politicians in particular who were blasted at the rally.
"We're here to send a message today, not just to Paul Ryan, not just to Mitt Romney, but to all the politicians who don't care about women's rights…who think they can use our rights as bargaining chips to win votes in an election. Our rights aren't up for debate," said Norwood to the crowd.
"What is ridiculous is the rhetoric that is going on in the right-wing right now. In the mainstream media, political candidates and elected officials are making outrageous statements about women, and it's unacceptable. Paul Ryan has cast 60 votes on abortion and reproductive rights issues during his time in the House of Representatives and every one of them were deemed anti-choice by women's health advocates," said Norwood.
WORD is a national organization with a sizable chapter in Los Angeles. Their next demonstrations will take place outside the presidential debate Monday in Boca Raton, Florida. The group has rallied outside of every presidential debate in 2012 to make sure their voices are being heard. It's also where the media will be, and the nation's attention will be focused.
"We’re going to be outside the presidential debate, because that’s where people’s attention will be focused," Norwood said. "We think people need to be talking about women’s issues, and they won’t be. Mitt Romney wants to take away our abortion rights. President Obama doesn’t want to talk about it, because it’s a sensitive issue. That’s not going to get us anywhere. Obviously it would be a lot worse for women if Romney won."
Check out a slideshow of photos from the rally below.