By: Hannah Irvin
All over the country, thousands of individuals marched in support for reproductive rights on Oct. 2. Organized through Women’s March, the events spanned all 50 states and Washington D.C. An estimated 1,000 people attended the Birmingham Reproductive Rights Rally, where local Black-owned food trucks provided lunch and booths were set up where attendees could sign up to get involved with local organizations like Birmingham Black Pride, Cell A65, Human Rights Campaign and Alabama Democrats. A booth was also set up so attendees could register to vote.
The rally started at 11 a.m., with 13 speakers telling their stories, encouraging the crowd to continue the work and explaining additional actions that could be taken. Speakers included founder of Cell A65, Satura Dudley, and Reverend Julie Conrady from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham.
At noon, the crowd moved to the sidewalks, where they began to march.
As they walked several blocks, marchers were met with a spectrum of reactions. Spectators smiled and waved; one woman even cheered loudly as they passed her. Some drivers honked and yelled profanity as they accelerated past the crowd. The marchers continued walking, chanting phrases like, “No justice, no peace.” The march finished where it began, in Linn Park. The food trucks left, the vendors packed up and the marchers dispersed calmly.
Lauren Crandall was the first to sign up to host the event, but she quickly realized that she, “couldn’t be the only host. Luckily a local Black lead organization reached out and wanted to be involved. I worked closely with Satura Dudley of Cell A65 and couldn’t have done it without her.”
Satura Dudley explained that the purpose of the event was to, “show the legislature in Alabama that this is a warning if they attempt something like what happened in Texas.” She said, “We had an amazing turn out and had lots of sign ups for Cell A65. With the amount of white people who turned out and the black speakers and organizers saying what we needed to about the importance of intersectionality the number of people was amazing but the education I feel we offered was just as amazing.”
Crandall explained that her desire to co-lead with Black organizers was because women of color are “more likely to die in childbirth, have subpar healthcare, not listened to, told they’re exaggerating pain. It goes on and on.” She continued, “I just felt like every march you see photos of is just white women…Black women do a lot of the leg work and get very little recognition and I did not want that to be the experience this time.”
“Often times white women leave people of color out of fight for reproductive care,” Dudley said. “Black women have been tested on and used for scientific research since we were brought over here over 400 years ago. You cannot fight for reproductive care if you are not fighting for people of color. The people who will be effected most by this are people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. We are not fighting for white rights, we are fighting for human rights. The exclusion of black women will kill any and all fights for human rights.”
Dudley’s dream for the movement is “The eventual abolition of the white supremacist, heteronormative, patriarchal, capitalistic structure in the United States.”
Crandall added, “We need to focus on contacting representatives, volunteering with organizations that are supporting our rights, voting, and making our voices louder than our opposition.”