Medical students, immigrant rights activists and self-described “nasty women” gathered at the Arkansas State Capitol steps on Saturday for the 8th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice.Gallery: 8th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice
At the event, sponsored by the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice and a host of other groups, Kendra Johnson welcomed the hundreds of attendees.
“If there’s one message I want to get across today, it’s, ‘We’ve got work to do, people,’” said Johnson, who directs the Human Rights Campaign in Arkansas.
She implored people in the crowd to leave with a renewed commitment to activism.
“Believe me when I tell you, we are the ones we have been waiting for,” she said.
Speakers touched on a range of topics: immigration reform and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation, the rights of the disabled, reproductive health and science, imprisonment and the state of public schools in Little Rock.
Keynote speaker Anika Whitfield, a Little Rock-based organizer with Save Our Schools, invited people of a minority race, disabled people and anyone who considers themselves “special” or “different” onto the steps with her.
“This is not just my voice,” Whitfield said. “This is our voice.”
The march commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which was handed down on Jan. 22, 1973. On that day, the court affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
On Sunday, also on Arkansas capitol steps, the annual Right to Life march will commence.