by Katy O'Connor, NOW Intern
A year to the day after an anti-abortionist gunned down seven people, killing
two women receptionists, at reproductive health clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts
NOW organized a day of highly visible events commemorating the anniversary.
The day started with 2,000 people marching through Boston, followed by
a rally featuring the feminist poet Rosalia Moralez, Detroit Free Press
striker Kate Desmut and author Marge Piercy. David Gunn Jr., son of the
late Dr. David Gunn, was also an honored guest. Afterward 300 people formed
a line that stretched between the two clinics for a service and candlelight
vigil. The day was thoroughly covered by both the print and electronic
media. Massachusetts NOW activists reiterated their stance against violence
in any form and their anger at the murderer, who pled temporary insanity.
NOW New Jersey
To prepare for the incoming Republican majority in the New Jersey Assembly,
New Jersey organized a coalition of groups to rally in front of their
statehouse in Trenton Nov. 16. Members carried NOW rounds and demanded
that a petition titled "New Jersey's Contract with its Government" be adopted
by the New Jersey Lawmakers. The 13-point petition -- which supports NOW's
major commitments to protecting reproductive rights, affirmative action
and welfare rights -- includes a plank calling for New Jersey to be declared
a "hate free" zone. NOW N.J. President Bear Atwood spoke to the press about
the groups rally and lobbying effort in the face of Republican-dominated
legislatures she says are "virtually being run as crash and burn environments."
During the course of the rally, police asked some NOW members to leave
for simply and peacefully trying to gain access to one of the assembly
members so they could speak with him about the petition.
Contra Costa (Calif.) NOW
On the anniversary of Roe
v. Wade Contra Costa NOW purchased
a $940 ad thanking clinic staff and volunteers for aiding in the fight
to keep abortion safe and legal. The ad was planned in conjunction with
a vigil in front of the offices of Rep. William Baker, to protest his anti-abortion
position on votes in the California legislature. Unfortunately the Contra
Costa Times ran that ad on the obituary page, while simultaneously
printing an anti-abortion ad prominently in another section. Dorrit Takach,
the president of Contra Costa NOW, got the NOW ad re-run by writing a biting
letter to the editor. Many more people wrote and called, too.
San Fernando Valley (Calif.) NOW
San Fernando Valley NOW activists
launched "The Unity Campaign" in December, in response to growing concerns
over the issues of domestic violence and racism. Taking their
the streets, activists distributed leaflets, in both English and Spanish,
on domestic violence and hate crimes against women, people of color and
lesbians and gays.
Braving the elements to deliver their message of unity, activists also
held candles or carried "Stop Violence Against Women" or "Stop Racism NOW"
"We were thrilled with the community response," said San Fernando Valley
NOW President Jean Morrison. "We recruited new activists, garnered media
attention and distributed more than 5,000 leaflets. We believe it is time
for not just our members, but for the community at large to understand
the interconnectedness of all forms of oppression."
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