North Texas Daily

Coalition hosts abortion justice rally, aims to mobilize community

Coalition hosts abortion justice rally, aims to mobilize community

Coalition hosts abortion justice rally, aims to mobilize community
October 07
10:00 2021

Organized by a coalition with Direct Action for a Change, more than 500 people gathered on the Courthouse-on-the-Square’s lawn Saturday to protest and march against Texas’s new abortion law. In the wake of a long history of law changes and court cases, locals from across North Texas joined forces in Denton to fight for reproductive rights.

Aug. 26, 1970. New York City. In the middle of rush hour with arms linked and signs raised high, 50,000 feminists marched down Fifth Avenue to show the power of second-wave feminism. 

The Women’s Strike for Equality March was organized by the National Organization for Women. At this point in 1970, the idea of liberation for women — freeing women from inequalities and a subservient status — was new. The Women’s Liberation Movement, however, was not the first time activism and organization were used to further a cause. 

Mobilization has a long history. From Suffragettes brandishing “Votes for Women” banners to Freedom Rides through the American South, the organization of community members has proven to be a successful form of engaging communities and fighting for change. 

Senate Bill 8 is not the first time Texas has been at the center of abortion discourse. 

Jan. 22, 1973. Roe v. Wade. The US Supreme Court struck down Texas’s law which only made abortion legal for the purpose of saving the woman’s life. Roe v. Wade set the precedent for the legality of abortion — the right to an abortion is protected. 

Senate Bill 8, or the “Heartbeat Bill,” was signed into law May 19 by Gov. Greg Abbott. Considered to be one of the most restrictive laws in Texas, the fight for abortion access across the U.S. has started again. 

Oct. 2, 2021. In New York, Washington D.C., Dallas and hundreds of cities across the US, protestors rallied together for abortion rights.

Denton was home to one of these protests with 500 people gathered in the Denton Square.

Direct Action for a Change was created last summer by Jessica Luther Rummel, a local Denton activist, to support activism in Denton County and the North Texas area. 

“I hope people will see the power in mobilizing and coming together,” Rummel said. 

Rummel reached out to members of Texas Equal Access Fund, PRO Gainesville, Speak Our Truth, Inc. and Black Rights Organization to make up the coalition which formed Saturday’s abortion access rally. Anjelica Fraga, co-organizer, board member of Texas Equal Access Fund and member of Denton Bail Fund, said sharing knowledge and resources with community members was a large goal of the event. 

“It’s really important for us to engage with our neighbors and our community so we can build power to fight for the rights we all deserve,” Fraga said. 

For abortion rights, Fraga said they want to make sure people are aware abortion is still legal in Texas. They said access to abortion is not just for reproductive justice. 

“Access to [abortion] is essential for immigrant justice, economic justice [and] racial justice,” Fraga said. 

PRO Gainesville organizer TorreyLynn Henderson said mobilizing the community was another goal of the rally. 

“Activism is the whole reason we’ve gotten as far as we have now,” Henderson said. “When we come together and we speak on what we want, that’s how we gain power and get what we need.” 

Saturday’s rally began with speeches on the steps of the courthouse before a march around the Denton Square and down N. Locust Street, cutting through the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival in Quakertown Park. Denton County Democratic Party Chair Delia Parker-Mims lead the crowd in a chant of “we will not be silenced” during her speech. 

Denton’s march and rally were attended by residents across North Texas. Maya Boyd, a 24-year-old University of Texas at Arlington student, came to Denton from Frisco’s rally. 

“[Rallies] shows our strength, that we’re not alone,” Boyd said. “Power in numbers.” 

Delashawn Bordeaux, co-organizer of the rally and founder of Speak Our Truth, Inc., said those who want progress must come together for things to change. 

“There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise children,” Bordeaux said. “I believe it takes a community for change. We can say what we want to do, but we have to be able to come together in order to make it happen. United we stand, divided we fall.”

B.R.O. hosted the 2020 reproductive justice march in Denton. President Zandria Hollister said that while last year’s event had “a great turnout” she felt like it missed a few points. This year, Hollister said “[they] delivered.”

“Today, I was very happy to look around and see that it was very diverse,” Hollister said. “[…] The message was strong today, it was very powerful.”

Featured Image: Leaders of The March and Rally to Defend Abortion Rights begin the march around downtown Denton on Oct. 2, 2021. Photo by Lola Garza

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Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson

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