(From War on Women Missouri)
Hundreds of Missouri men and women participated in “We Are Women” events for women’s rights in Jefferson City on Saturday, April 28th, which included a march to the Capitol grounds and a rally. Event organizers estimated total attendance to be 300 people.
Co-Organizer for the event, Paula Willmarth states, “This past Saturday Missouri women and men proved that they were ready to take action against this war on women! This is not the end of this movement, but only the beginning. We will continue to keep fighting and organizing here in Missouri until women have equal rights and we are protected.”
Across the country on this day, thousands of women and men participated in their own state Capitols. This movement began with two women, Karen Teegarden from Michigan and Desiree Jordan from New York, who were talking on the phone one night about all the record legislation that has been introduced in our country attacking women. Between themselves they realized ‘Enough is Enough’ and started a Facebook page gathering women who felt the same. The movement grew overnight and now has 21,000 members.
Participants drove hundreds of miles from all four corners of the state to attend. There were several elected officials who were in attendance, including Rep. Bert Atkins (D-75), Rep. Stephen Webber (D-23), and Rep. Judy Morgan (D-39). A number of candidates were also in attendance, including Paul LeVota (D-11), Sandra Reeves (D-17), Kevin Morgan (D-38), Deb Lavender (D-90), Nancy Copenhaver (D-47), Sen. Ken Jacob (D- 44), Rep. Rebecca McClanahan (D-3), Nancy Maxwell (D-54), Gary Grigsby (D-51), and Patty Johnson (D-56).
Both U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill sent letters of support. McCaskill’s letter spoke in detail about the Violence Against Women Act. Candidate for the 4th Congressional Missouri House of Representatives and current Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Hensley was present to speak to the crowd about domestic violence and how much this issue affects Missouri’s women.
“Last week the House Republicans and Vicki Hartzler voted to not renew the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. It’s unconscionable. Keep in mind in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act actually was bi-partisan. Over forty Republicans voted for that. And in fact, when it needed to be renewed, George W. Bush signed it back into law in 2000 and 2005. Yet this group, these House Republicans and Vicki Hartzler, played a political game,” Hensley declared.
During 1986 in Jefferson City there was a women’s rights march that drew thousands. In attendance was former Senator Ken Jacob, who spoke on Saturday to represent the men’s point of view and who was also a leader at the march in 1986. There were many men who came to support women’s rights, voicing that it’s not just women’s rights that are under attack, it’s human rights.
“This movement started online and is growing everyday. Social media is a powerful tool when used to connect, educate, and engage others for a particular cause. In this case, women and men throughout the state of Missouri saw the aggressive attacks taking place in our own state against women and rose to the call. I’m proud of the turnout and support that we’ve received throughout this great state and look forward to continuing this movement in the months ahead,” co-organizer Courtney Cole said.
For more information about this movement, please visit UniteWomen.org or join on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/WOWMO.