International Walk for Choice 2011: DC Edition

On the heels of a fantastic day of solidarity and compassion, I am again re-fueled in this fight for reproductive freedom. Although I feel re-energized and hopeful, I’ve seen negative comments on the DC Walk for Choice 2011’s Facebook page with which I disagree. Comments that the event was poorly advertised, the turn-out was depressingly small, that it should have been on the Capitol steps, etc. etc. etc. I feel safe in saying that most of those who came to Upper Senate Park on Saturday felt as I did, and were thankful for the opportunity to organize and demonstrate our opposition to the injustices of current legislation.


Whenever I am surrounded by like-minded people who believe that reproductive rights are basic human rights, I can’t help but feel proud of the work I do. At the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), we work to bring the moral voice of religious communities to the forefront of pro-choice efforts to ensure reproductive freedom for all people. It is a unique experience to work alongside people of faith who understand the importance of prevention, who believe that sexuality is natural and a part of being human, who see the need for access to sexual and reproductive health care services, and who are pro-choice because of their spiritual beliefs, not despite them.

As a young professional working for sexual and reproductive rights, I often am confronted by those who do not think young people care as much about these issues as they should. But I can attest, there are plenty of people from my generation who care deeply and do everything in their power to fight for reproductive freedom. There are also many young men and women who consider themselves spiritual or religious who do not take our current reproductive rights for granted. My generation is powerful; we are large in numbers and know how to use social media and new technology to spread information rapidly. If properly mobilized, nothing can stop us!

In my opinion, the DC Walk for Choice was a complete success. 500+ people wearing orange, holding signs, listening to inspiring speakers, and chanting and cheering for reproductive freedom…how can that be categorized as anything other than a success? And guess what? It was all organized by a handful of college students in less than a week, spreading the word purely through word of mouth, Facebook, and Twitter. Who says young people don’t care as much about these issues as they should? MAJOR KUDOS—Lily Bolourian, lead organizer for the DC Walk for Choice 2011, for taking the initiative and giving Washingtonians an outlet for their GOP frustrations, as well as Katey Zeh, RCRC’s Board Member and United Methodist, who spoke on Saturday on behalf of pro-choice people of faith everywhere.  

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  • nonsense-nonsense

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  • mechashiva

    Yeah, turn-out wasn’t very high. The event was not very well-organized, in my opinion. I mean, yay grassroots and stuff, but why didn’t the rallies try to get permits (maybe some did, but not any of the ones that I was looking at)? That’s really shooting yourself in the foot. Our event got shut-down because of it.


    Additionally, there was the Save The American Dream rally in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers held at the same time in most of the cities where the Walk For Choice was being held… often in the same general area. That certainly drew away from attendence. Here in the bay area, BART was FILLED with people heading over to SF for that rally. There were so few people at the Walk For Choice in Oakland (maybe 200-250) there weren’t even any counter-protesters. Only people who cared more about abortion than attending a big, loud, angr, Dems vs Reps protest showed up.

  • therealistmom

    For a very rushed-togther event primarily put together on social networks though, I think it was impressive. One estimate I saw said 300 people attended but honestly I think there were more, based on looking back behind me seeing the stream of people up Capitol Hill. We had a permit to gather in downtown and police escort to walk in the streets, though the rally broke a bit earlier than originally planned, mostly because of the cold- it doesn’t usually spit snow in Seattle, especially at the end of February. A lot of us shared our stories, I even got up with the bullhorn to speak and I am an incredibly, horribly shy person. Thankfully the snow outside of town didn’t get a really good start until I was leaving our I would have been in trouble over the passes for the 150 mile drive home. Flickr stream of the event.  I’m the goofy-looking one with the short hair and the “Trust Women, Mother of 3 for Choice” sign.

  • rachel-larris

    I attended the DC “Walk” for Choice and I have mixed feelings about it. There was no media coverage at all. Not even Amanda Hess at TBD (who did the only pre-rally coverage). Part of the goal of such rallies is to raise national attention.

    As much as I personally liked all of the speakers, to be honest they were all speaking off-the-cuff. The NYC rally had musicians and big names speaking.

    On the other hand, part of the purpose of rallies is get supporters together and energized. It was great for me to see all my pro-choice friends together in one place, making signs and *doing* something. While I enjoyed the “homemade” feel of the rally, I do wish it could’ve been put to a more productive use.

  • saltyc

    Let’s hear it for the big apple!