Hundreds of pro-choice supporters fill Market Street to protest July 4 celebrations
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – More than 1,000 protesters spoke out in favor of pro-choice legislation on July 4, a day traditionally when many celebrate American independence.
“I think there’s no better day to protest the removal of our rights than this Independence Day. It’s ironically perfect,” Aurora Plake said.
A coalition of organizations came together on Monday to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson quashing Roe v. Wade.
One of the event’s organizers, Lauren Wright, was amid pro-choice supporters rising up and demanding that women’s right to legal, safe and affordable abortions be guaranteed.
“[I am] ready to spend the rest of my life fighting [Roe v. Wade’s reversal,]said White.
“It brought tears to my eyes honestly,” said organizer Valérie Simone.
“[Seeing this crowd] makes me feel ready, ready to step up and do something about it because it’s not right,” Aurora Plake said.
Young and old, men and women, gathered with placards demanding action and change.
Speakers who took the mic on a hot 4th of July included the Hon. Stacey Newman, Founder of Progress Women, LaRhonda Wilson, with Color of Change PAC, Debbie Kitchen, with Indivisible St Louis, Denise Lieberman, with MOVPC, and Heather Fleming, with In Purposeful Educational Services.
“I’m furious and terrified of what the future looks like, as are so many women across the country!” says Kitchen. “We have a radical right-wing court stripping us of our hard-won constitutional rights! Women will vote – WE WILL NOT COME BACK!
Supporters said the message was not about using abortion as birth control, but about giving a mother all of her options in a crisis.
“We deserve the same treatment and not to be treated like second-class citizens, and that’s what we’re here to stand for,” Simone said.
“We have seen one of our basic human rights taken away,” Plake explained. “I don’t think anyone should be celebrating a country that did this to us, so we’re not celebrating, we’re protesting.”
The peaceful protest began on the sidewalk along Market Street, but quickly spread across the pavement. In the distance, behind the walkers, was the newly installed Freedom Suits sculpture, a symbol of the fight that slaves in Missouri undertook to win their freedom.
Now, more than a century later, these people say they seek the freedom to choose.
“I don’t blame anyone for celebrating the 4th of July, but I will be there to remind them that not everyone has the same rights in this country and we will continue to disrupt until something is done about it. this topic,” Simone said.
Supporters said they don’t have a set time and location for their next rally, but are encouraging everyone to make their feelings known by voting in November.
“As if we could actually do it. It might take 50 years, but we’re going to cancel it,” White said.
Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.