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Ending the war against women

By Annie West | Freelancer
On April 26, 2012

This Saturday, April 28, unitewomen.org will be hosting the Unite Against the War on Women rally across the states. In Oregon, the rally will be held at the state capitol building, on the north steps in Salem. The event starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.

 

The event is meant to bring attention to the multiple attacks on women's rights occurring nationwide. Such attacks include the threat to contraception for women, threats to equal work for equal pay laws and the alteration of the Violence Against Women Act to exclude Native Americans and immigrants, as well as many others.

 

Speaking at the event is Kate Brown, Oregon's Secretary of State and the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate Majority Leader, Margaret Carter, Oregon's first African American woman legislator, Kristin Teigen from the National Organization for Women, and Kamala Shugar, the board chair for Planned Parenthood Advocacy of Oregon, as well as several other influential women from around the state.

 

Amanda Schroeder, the rally's lead organizer for Oregon, explained that the goal of the event is to bring attention to the attacks on women and women's rights, as well as getting people to take a stand.

 

"I want people to leave righteously indignant," she said. "I want people to leave with a sense of excitement and motivation. Enough is enough. We need to stand tall and we need to reach out."

 

When discussing the efforts it took to make the rally happen, Schroeder credits the team of organizers that worked with her to make the event what it has become.

 

Such organizers include Nancy Mead, who helped take the list of wanted speakers and turned it into a reality through personal contacts and response to the original Facebook group. Another organizer is Jeanie Fine, who is the organizer for the group's campus outreach program.

Jeanie works to bring in the generation of students who are just now eligible to vote, inform them and, like Schroeder explained, motivate them into standing up for what is right.

 

 "It is vital to get the younger generations involved. They are our future leaders and are just coming to the age of voting," Fine said. "We have to bring awareness to all groups."

 

As part of unitewomen.org's campus outreach program, there are four busses providing transportation from the Portland area to Salem for the rally.

 

The events of April 28 are not just in Oregon, but nationwide; a fact that Unitewomen.org's founder, Karen Teegarden, had never expected.

"We did this because no one else was and we were angry," Teegarden said in reference to the night that started it all, just a few short months ago.

In February, Teegarden, from Michigan, had been on the phone with her friend, Desiree Jordan, from New York, discussing the attacks being made on women and civil rights and that it seemed that no one was doing anything in reaction.

 

As explained on the organization's website, Teegarden hung-up from the conversation and in many ways, ran with the idea to stand up and "take to the streets".

 

"She created a Facebook group, naming it "Organizing Against the War on Women", posted it on her wall and other Facebook walls and asked Desiree to do the same. Upon waking up the next morning there were almost 500 people asking to join..."

 

Since then, the organization has become a nationwide group, hosts its own Blog Talk Show, and is now hosting the rallies on Saturday.

When talking about the different generational takes on the issues at hand, Teegarden feels that the supporters of equal rights have changed since the 1970's.

 

"Now that rights are being taken away again, men and women are fighting and saying that's not right. It's not just women standing alone, like it was in the 70's, it's everyone, because equal rights for women benefit everyone."

 

This shared view between all four women has Teegarden, Schroeder, Fine and Mead excited for the rallies and hoping for a large turn-out across the states from different genders, races, parties, and generations.


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