Organizers of the "Protest at the State Capital" event are calling on women who are appalled at the treatment the Arkansas legislature has handed them this session to rally at the Capitol at 3 p.m. March 23, and so far more than 1,000 people (men and women) have indicated on the event''s Facebook page that they will attend.
Organizers Donna Shade and LeeWood Thomas issued a press release today about the event today and said a speaker line-up is being formed. (Press release on the jump.)
The rally will protest the newly-enacted laws unconstitutionally rescinding abortion rights and well as bills still under consideration to grant personhood to the embryo and defund Planned Parenthood.
There is much more to protest coming out of this General Assembly, which this year is composed mostly of creatures that have emerged from the rock they've lived under since the 1950s to wreak havoc on women's rights and other such "progressive" notions such as voter rights, health care and education. If all the thousands who are disgusted turned out, it would help let the rest of the world know that we aren't all mean-spirited, misogynistic, retrograde doofuses.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROTEST AT THE ARKANSAS CAPITOL
A large grass-roots organized group opposed to Arkansas' recently enacted laws restricting reproductive rights is planning a protest from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, on the east side of the State Capitol.
“This legislature has spent two months focusing the bulk of its attention on passing laws that are blatantly unconstitutional, while ignoring the dire needs of healthcare, education and the state's economy,” said Donna Shade, a member of the organizing committee for the Protest at the Arkansas Capitol. “We feel it's critical to show the state there are a large number of people here who do not agree with this kind of regressive government.”
"It's hypocrisy when politicians campaign on smaller, less-intrusive government and cutting frivolous spending, but then introduce these court-bound, anti-women bills", stated LeeWood Thomas, another organizer. "The women of Arkansas have a right under federal law to make their own decisions."
Within 48 hours of a public Facebook invitation, more than 700 people had indicated they would attend, and the number continues to climb rapidly. Donna Shade said "Jaime Goswick, from Mountainburg, created a Facebook event page, and the response was immediate and overwhelming. Now people all over the state are forming car pools, buying ads, and contributing materials for the event."
"Arkansas — Stop the War on Women, a social media advocacy project, has been coordinating massive statewide phone, e-mail, and social media opposition to this legislature’s egregious actions since January," added Claudia Reynolds-LeBlanc. "Some of the protest planners include participants from that project, but no existing organization is involved in the event." Planners say a casually formed working group of about 25 volunteers are handling the organizing chores.
There is no budget, nor is there a plan to raise money. “If someone wants to donate to the cause, they can buy gas for a carload of people to come from their community, or they can contact us for ad material to run in their local newspaper or on the radio,” said Shade.
The planners say speakers are being invited now, and will be confirmed this week.
“For now, we would like to invite everyone in Arkansas who believes women should be able to make private healthcare decisions with their doctor, not politicians, to join us at the Capitol on March 23,” Shade said. “Make a sign, bring a friend, help show the world that there is another side to our state besides what's been in the news the past few weeks.”