More than 700 activists came together to fight for their rights Saturday in the third annual Ohio Women’s March at Washington Gladden Social Justice Park.
Despite the winter storm warning just an hour before, the march went on with the help of developers like Rhiannon Childs, executive director of Ohio Women’s March.
“When I think about the weather we’re facing I think about truly weathering the storm,” Childs said. “In a sense that our ancestors who fought in the civil-rights movement and even throughout slavery, have experienced far more harsh conditions than we are, and if we are truly fighting for justice a little bit of snow is not going to keep us out.”
Fifteen speakers took the stage at the march, including congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Erica Crawley, state representative of Ohio’s 26th District. Naomi Pepper, a third-year in community leadership and president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Ohio State, encouraged marchers to take their support even further by getting involved with organizations that support the rights of women and other minorities.
Vendors included The Fight For Her Campaign, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and many small businesses led by women.
Marchers waved hundreds of posters during the event, drawing attention to prominent social justice issues.
Since the recent veto of an Ohio bill that would ban abortions as early as six weeks, a concern for many marchers is the return of the bill under Gov. Mike DeWine, who was sworn in on Jan. 14.
“Six weeks doesn’t really give anyone enough time to even know that they’re pregnant,” Pepper said. “By the time they might figure out that they’re pregnant, it might be too late for them to even have the decision.”
Childs urged marchers to reach out to local legislative officials with their stories.
“Now is the moment for us to continue to come out and talk to our local officials, let them know how we feel and give them the opportunity to listen to their constituents,” she said. “As we’ve seen, the stories of the people in our community have allowed us to get this far. I know these stories are the reason why we were able to win against the six-week abortion ban.”
She encouraged those who attended the march to celebrate their power and remain united on the fight for equity for all people, not just during the march, but every day.
Video credit: Deborah Eshun