Statements

Take Action for Women’s Equality Day

Say NO to the Status Quo—Full Equality for All Women!
Full Reproductive Rights Now!
Free Marissa Alexander!
Equal Pay for Equal Work!
End Violence Against Women!

See an initial list of events

Women's Equality Day LA action

Aug. 26 marks Women’s Equality Day—a celebration of the hard-fought struggle for women’s suffrage that was won in 1918. Today, almost 100 years later, women have made many gains in the struggle for equality. Almost 100 years later, the struggle for full equality continues.

There is much that has not been won. In 2014, women are still paid less than men for equal work; Latina women are paid 55 percent of what men earn, Black women 67 percent and white women 78 percent. Worldwide, 35 percent of women experience sexual violence. Society then sweeps sexual violence under the rug—shaming victims and protecting attackers.

Marissa Alexander’s case—among many others—highlights the contradictions of a society that punishes victims of abuse when they defend themselves. Marissa Alexander is a 33-year-old African American woman, mother, and survivor of domestic violence. Under mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Marissa was sentenced to 20 years in prison for defending herself against an abuser in the same state that let George Zimmerman walk free. Though the original sentence was thrown out by the judge, Marissa is still being prosecuted and State Prosecutor Angela Corey has announced she intends to seek a 60-year sentence. All charges against Marissa should be dropped! We must stand with Marissa, demand her freedom, and fight to end all forms of violence against women!

Read more

WORD stands with the people of Palestine

WORD Supports PalestineOver the past month, Israeli has carried out an all-out aerial assault and ground invasion of Gaza, as the seven-year inhumane and illegal siege has continued.

Israel's latest massacre in Gaza has killed almost 2,000 men, women and children. More than 8,500 have been wounded. Israel has carried out a nonstop military assault against an occupied people under the flimsy excuse of ending rocket fire from occupied land.

The assault is an all out racist, genocidal attack on the palestinian people. In just one example of the mindset of the Israeli government, Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Israeli parliament, called for the targeting of Palestinian mothers. She said, "They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists. ... They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there." If that wasn't bad enough, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a prominent Israeli thinker, "academic expert" on Palestinian populations and former military intelligence expert, recently claimed publicly that raping Palestinian women and girls would deter "suicide bombers."

Stop the War on GazaDespite the escalations and the brutality of the assaults, as well as the intensifying hate speech in mainstream Zionist rhetoric, all U.S. Senators unanimously passed Senate Resolution 498 to give full support to Israel's actions.

The United States government gives Israel over 3.1 billion dollars EACH year in "aid." Israel uses that money for its military and industrial development, facilitating the blockade of Gaza—denying the people access to everyday necessities like clean water and electricity. While the U.S. supports Israel with billions, people in Detroit are facing a water shutoff.

Women in the United States have more in common with the people of Palestine than we do with the politicians who claim to represent us and then use our tax dollars to fund and commit genocide. Working people in the United States have nothing to gain from Israel's apartheid regime and attempts at wiping out the Palestinian people. We see the parallels between the oppression of Palestine and the suffering of our own poorest communities; between the apartheid created by Israel and the racist system of "justice" in the United States.

We understand that the support the United States is giving to the blatant, systematic genocide perpetrated by Israel is proof that the government does not care about the well-being of women, children or any innocent civilians. This humanitarian rhetoric is only used to support an agenda of U.S. capitalist expansion around the globe.

Stop the War On Gaza

WORD stands in full solidarity with the Palestinian people. We stand with the Palestinian people as they resist an apartheid, colonial state whose leaders unabashedly target mothers and children for massacre. The war on Palestine is another war on women, and no woman will be free until this racist and national oppression ends.

We demand that all U.S. aid to Israel be stopped immediately. Stop the assault in Gaza! End the colonial occupation of Palestine!

We urge WORD supporters to join protests in support of Palestine in their area. WORD recently joined the Aug. 2 National March on Washington, and we'll continue to come out in the coming weeks. We know no woman can be free while others are oppressed. Let's stay in the streets!

Top photo shows WORD organizer Karina Garcia speaks at a protest against the Israeli assault on Gaza in Tallahassee, Fl., July 26.

WORD stands with Latinas and their communities

WORD supports the Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice 2104, and will continue to work for change and fight for true justice. Below is a solidarity statement signed by WORD and other organizations.

We declare our solidarity with, and commitment to work alongside, Latinas, their families, and communities, as they struggle for reproductive justice and the recognition of their human rights.

Twenty years ago, a group of visionary Black women created the Reproductive Justice (RJ) framework, founding a transformational and culturally grounded movement for human rights and social change. Latinas across the country joined with Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous hermanas in embracing this new reproductive justice framework. In the process, we reframed our organizing and advocacy to work across issues and identities while building the movement for dignity, justice, and self-determination for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Despite gains made over 20 years of organizing, resistance, and collaboration within the framework of reproductive justice, our communities are threatened. Latinas across the country are facing deportation, restrictions on access to abortion and other critical reproductive health services, violence, discrimination, lack of health care, and the denial of our human rights.

We declare our support for the full recognition of the human and civil rights of Latinas: among these are the human right to health care, including reproductive health care; the ability to decide when and if to have children, build families, and parent children with dignity; and freedom from policies that disregard the humanity and contributions of immigrant people.

Finally, we pledge to work in partnership and community with Latinas and reproductive justice advocates to join our struggles and build more inclusive movements for social change. We will fight together to challenge and dismantle the oppressive systems that deny the self-determination and humanity of Latinas, to transform our culture, and to work for change. The time is now.

Reportbacks from nationwide actions to demand justice for Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 60 years in prison for defending herself during an attack by her abuser, shooting a single warning shot that injured no one. Earlier in June, Judge Daniel postponed Marissa’s trial, which had been set to begin on July 28, 2014. The trial was delayed in consideration of the effect of recent amendments to Florida’s racist Stand Your Ground law. This was the law that the State of Florida invoked to delay pressing charges against murderer George Zimmerman for 45 days.

On July 18, Judge Daniel denied Marissa’s request for a second Stand Your Ground hearing, ruling that amendments to the law could not apply retroactively to her case, but that if she was convicted, she could at that point argue that new amendments prohibited the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences, which in Marissa's case total 60 years. This means that Marissa's trial is scheduled to proceed on Dec. 8, despite the fact that her case has been cited as an inspiration for changes to the law encompassing warning shots. The Stand Your Ground law has been applied to protect racists murderers from prosecution. If it were not a racist law, it would protect Marissa from prosecution as well. Women around the country will continue to organize in the streets until the case is dismissed or until Marissa is ultimately free.

Over June 20 – 21, actions took place across the country to raise the visibility on Marissa Alexander’s case. The actions demanded that Judge James Daniel dismiss the case against Marissa. Then, on July 28, supporters from across the country converged on Jacksonville, FL, to raise Marissa's case as part of Standing Our Ground Week.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, FL

On July 28, protesters from across the South and the country marched on the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., where Marissa Alexander is due to go on trial on Dec. 8th. The action followed a weekend of workshops, planning sessions and other activities aimed at her release. Activists and community members of all ages met at the Crowne Plaza on the south bank of the St. Johns River. They marched over the Main St. Bridge, shouting chants like "Up up with liberation, down down with incarceration!" and "Hey hey! Ho ho! Angela Corey’s got to go!" When Marissa's supporters reached the Duval County Courthouse, their songs of hope and struggle echoed around the building. The police forced them to stop using bullhorns and surrounded the throng of people in caution tape during a press conference.

In the field outside the courthouse, supporters linked arms in a large circle of solidarity to listen to speeches by Free Marissa Now, Sister Song, WORD, Coalition Against Domestic Violence and others. Women leaders spoke out about how the injustice happening to Marissa is part of a broader system that criminalizes the Black community, disempowers women and mothers, and holds down youth and poor people. Pointing at the courthouse, they demanded State Attorney Angela Corey drop the charges against Marissa and step down.

"We're out here because we recognize that we live in an America that absolutely will not protect Black women," said Cherisse Scott of Sister Reach, "that we live in an America that absolutely will not make sure we have access to reproductive and sexual health education, that we have access to contraception, and that we are free from violence."

"We're here today to fight the system that tells us repeatedly that Black lives do not have value, that Black women cannot defend themselves, that Black women and Black children and men were never meant to survive," insisted Peta Lindsay of WORD. "We came out here today to stand for Marissa Alexander, just like we stood for Trayvon Martin, stood for Eric Gartner, stand for our brothers and sisters in Palestine that are also fighting a racist system. We know that we have to had fight and orgnize for every right we've won in this country, every right and every consideration, any respect from the law. It was never handed to us. So we have to stay organized and stay in the streets."

Afterwards, the march left to hold a People's Tribunal at the Mayor's office and other wrap-up activities to ensure that the campaign continues to move forward in the weeks and months ahead.

San Francisco, CA

On June 21, WORD-SF rallied to demand that Judge Daniel dismiss the charges against Marissa Alexander. The rally, held at Powell and Market, reached out to hundreds of people at the very busy square. WORD organizers and supporters held picket signs, passed out hundreds of informational leaflets and collected petition signatures. Teachers, communications workers, activists, independent radio journalists and others spoke to demand freedom for Marissa Alexander. Many of the speakers also made the connections between Marissa’s case and the broader issues of racism and sexism confronted by hundreds of thousands of women caught up in the so-called "justice" system as well as the need to end domestic and sexual violence. WORD organizers will continue advocating for Marissa over the summer at SF PRIDE the following weekend and JazzFest in July.

Free Her Rally in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., supporters of Marissa Alexander rallied on June 21 at the Sylvan Theater, in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall. Called the "Free Her Rally," the rally drew attention to the devastating effects of mass incarceration on women. Hundreds of activists and community members held signs and signed petitions demanding that the case against Marissa Alexander be dismissed.

The Free Her Rally was organized by Families for Justice as Healing, and supported and attended by many organizations, including WORD chapters from the D.C. area, Philadelphia and New Haven, Conn.

Attorney Nkechi Taifa and organizer Karen Garrison raised Marissa's case in speeches from the rally stage. Ms. Garrison, of MommieActivist and Sons Radio Show, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign (DC region) summed up the action by saying, "Today a whole lot of women are here [fighting] mass incarceration, over incarceration … All of them are connected because it's injustice. Families are impacted, neighborhoods are impacted."

Attendees traveled from along the East Coast to participate in the rally. Attorney Janelle Johnson traveled from Pittsburgh so she could "show support for the women who are in jail … showing that there are people standing behind them." She also voiced her concern for the "children [of incarcerated mothers] who are left behind." Marissa is a mother of three children, and had given birth to her youngest daughter just days before she was attacked and arrested.

Outreach in New York, N.Y.

New York, N.Y.

In NYC, Marissa Alexander supporters set up on a busy intersection in Harlem on 125th and Lenox on June 21 for a day of community outreach on Marissa's case. They brought a bullhorn, hundreds of flyers and petitions, and explained Marissa's case on an open mic.

Dozens of men and women, small children, families, stopped on their own accord to find out who was the woman on the banner and why was she in prison. The cruelty and the injustice of a system that punishes women for standing up against violence and protecting their families and their lives, while allowing the perpetrators of violence, like Marissa's ex-husband, and people like George Zimmerman, to walk free was outrageous for so many.

Activists and community members took photos with messages of support to Marissa. "We love you, Sister," and, "stay strong," were common themes in the messages. The community was shocked to hear that all Marissa did was fire a warning shot. Facing 60 years in prison for warning an abusive ex-husband just doesn't add up. All in all people were happy to contribute in any way they could to reunite her family and put this tragedy behind her. From the Bronx to Harlem, Queens to Manhattan, the people of NYC say, "Free Marissa Alexander! Drop the charges now!"

New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT

In New Haven, women's rights activists and community supporters came together on June 20 to demand justice for Marissa Alexander, as well as freedom for 16-year-old Latina trans girl Jane Doe, a survivor of abuse and trafficking perpetrated by Connecticut Department of Children and Families who had been locked-up without charges in an adult prison. In July, Jane was transferred to a locked facility for boys.

Passers-by stopped to hear what was being said and offer their support. Many people had heard of Alexander's case, but many others were hearing her story for the first time and were outraged.

"Why are child molesters getting less time than her?" asked one person in the crowd.

Zephyr Strassner, a WORD organizer and queer rights activist, laid down some hard facts. "Marissa Alexander has been put through the prison industrial complex. We have states that have privatized their prisons. That seems to be one of the largest trends among states that cut their taxes. And when we sell these prisons out to corporations, they are giving mandatory minimum percentages that these prisons must be filled up to."

Dozens of people signed the petition to drop all charges against Marissa and to free Jane Doe. Many expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to learn about these cases and take part in a community action to get justice for our unjustly incarcerated sisters.

WORD stands with immigrant children

Gisela Santiago,
WORD-LA Organizer

On July 23, the City Council of Bell, California, voted in favor of the Salvation Army’s request to receive federal funding to shelter around 150 immigrant children from Central America while the children wait to be deported. WORD activists and volunteers from Los Angeles attended the City Council meeting to speak in support of the initiative.

A majority of the residents were in favor of opening the Salvation Army’s doors to shelter these children, who would stay for about 30 days at a time while they await deportation, but there was a small group who opposed the proposal. It was surprising to see that the group of people who were against sheltering these children were mostly women, and mostly from the Latino community. To ignore the fact that immigration is not a women’s issue would be absolutely wrong.

As I sat in the meeting I could not believe what I was hearing, especially in an immigrant, Latino community. Many blamed the parents of these immigrant children as being irresponsible and bad parents for allowing their children to make the dangerous journey to the United States alone. Others suggested that immigrant women and the women from these countries simply stop having children. Who are we to tell women to stop having children? This is not only demeaning but this absolutely does nothing to solve the immigration problem.

After the meeting, a group of women approached us telling us that we should stop having children, asking what kind of people would consciously have children in oppressed countries just to continue the "cycle of poverty." One commented that poor people just end up having poor children. It is not simply women's fault if we are poor, it is the lack of resources available to us and our families that makes it difficult to provide a decent life for our children. Women have every right to have children if we choose to. The reason why these particular women and families make the hard decision to send their children to the United States is because they have no other option.

It was sad to witness such racist, anti-immigrant sentiment. People were attacking immigrant women for having children in the United States, thus making their U.S.-born children citizens. What these women failed to realize is that even here in the United States, contraception and safe abortions are rights that are being taken away. Contradictory statements that immigrant women shouldn't have children, yet not supporting access to contraception only causes confusion and pits women against each other. Now is when we as women have to unite and not turn our backs on each other. Many immigrant women live in low-income communities where funding for family programs are the first to be slashed. We should all have equal access to contraception, we should all – regardless of status – be able to have the right to choose whether to have children or not. It is not up to these racists to decide whether immigrant women should have children, it is a decision that every woman has a right to make by herself.

WORD stands with the children from Central America and their families. We will be there with open arms when they arrive to the City of Bell and we hope that those in the Los Angeles area will stand with us and show these children and the immigrant community that they are not alone. We recognize that no woman can be free while others are oppressed. Immigration is a women's issue!

Reportbacks from nationwide actions to speak out against the Hobby Lobby Decision

On July 3 – 13th, WORD chapters all across the country organized protests demanding that the Supreme Court overturn its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The ruling prioritizes a corporation's "religious freedom" over an employee's right to health insurance coverage, including coverage of contraception.

No employer should have the right to deny women their rights to make decisions about their health and well-being, including their reproductive health. The misleading words "closely held" are used by the court to describe Hobby Lobby, but in reality obscure the breadth of their decision. Hobby Lobby is not some small family-owned, religious-based business. It is a giant crafts store with 500 outlets and 16,000 employees. Not one of those 16,000 workers should have their health decisions undermined or negated because of the owner's beliefs.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

On July 3, dozens of supporters of women's rights came out to Powell and Market Streets to denounce the Supreme Court decision that an employer's religious beliefs trump a woman's right to health care. The message of the crowd was clear: this is a continuation of the vicious onslaught on women's rights that has been growing especially bad over the last few years, and we refuse to stand idly by as our rights are chipped away.

People spoke on the mic to stand against the ongoing war on women, demand the need for abortion on demand, and to declare that contraceptive access IS vital health care for women. Another important message was the importance of people being in the streets to force concessions and win rights.

Participants marched from the rally site around San Francisco's busy Union Square chanting: "2- 4-6-8, the church and state don't ovulate!" and "Every generation has an obligation to women's liberation!" Marchers received cheers of support of many along the route, including at least one worker who said she had been waiting for someone to stand up and fight against the decision earlier that week.

The event was a united action called by WORD, Stop Patriarchy, CODEPINK, SF NOW, and the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

Albuquerque, N.M.

A courageous group of over 100 Albuquerque residents lined the busy street in front of a Hobby Lobby on July 7. The group was formed not only of women and families throughout the city, but with the help of WORD, NOW and Personhood for Women, among others. The signs were mostly handmade, very witty and representative of frustration at Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court, capitalism, the disproportionate rewarding of some religions over others, and the residual effects that this ruling will have on other marginalized groups.

It is no surprise that so many women and allies showed up remind Hobby Lobby that their decision reaches far beyond their tight-knit religious family. This attack on women's reproductive rights comes just eight months after Albuquerque stood up and said a fierce and resounding NO to the anti-choice ballot brought into the city by the notorious group Operation Rescue. The proposed ordinance intended to stop abortions at or after 20 weeks. However, women and families from all over the city poured in to vote and defeat the ban.

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

In Chicago, on July 10, WORD organized a picket at the offices of one of the Hobby Lobby co- plaintiffs, Lindsay Rappaport and Postel, and across the street from the Thomas More Society, which provides legal services for two other Chicago co-plaintiffs, Ozinga and Triune Health Group.

Activists chanted and demanded that the decision be overturned, as it is an immediate attack on women's health and reproductive rights.

Seattle, WA

Protesters picketed at the site of a future Hobby Lobby in North Seattle on busy Aurora Avenue (Highway 99) on July 13. Holding a banner condemning the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision and signs stating "Contraception is healthcare," the protest was greeted with honks of support from many passing cars.

Annette had searched online to find a protest. She hadn't attended any demonstrations in years, but the Supreme Court's decision had outraged her and she felt compelled to take action. A man in a wheelchair across the street called out, "I am a Christian and I am against what they [Hobby Lobby] are doing." A young woman took a handful of fliers to distribute at Aurora Commons, a resource center a few blocks away.

New Haven, CT

East Haven, CT

On July 5, a group of protesters gathered in East Haven to picket a Hobby Lobby store. Protesters assembled in front of the giant Hobby Lobby sign next to a busy road. Holding signs reading "Women's Rights – Not Corporate Rights!" and "We Won’t Go Back – We Will Fight Back!," the group chanted loudly and was met by approving honks and waves from numerous passing cars. Shoppers pulling out of the parking lot stopped to hear about the Supreme Court decision and what can be done to fight back. One shopper disclosed that she had just been in to Hobby Lobby to return everything she had recently bought there after hearing about the decision.

The protest recognized that the Hobby Lobby ruling was not a single bad apple – it was part of a broader, toxic tendency of right-wing attacks on women's and workers' rights across the country, a tendency which can only be met with militant fightback against sexism throughout the system. Maria, a Connecticut woman and worker who attended the rally, said: "I've been very angry about this Supreme Court decision. Since 2012, there have been 200 bills to regulate my body and not one about my husband's."

IV, a WORD organizer, said "Already, in the immediate wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, religious companies have put in requests to be exempt from laws against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. This is setting a precedent that will allow for racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia to be protected for bigoted bosses to come."

Laurel, MD (Washington, D.C. area)

Laurel, Maryland (Washington, D.C. area)

During the early afternoon on July 5, activists convened outside of a Hobby Lobby located in Laurel, Md. to stand up and demand justice for women. The protest quickly grew, as women passing by were motivated to join the action.

The protest was met with overwhelming approval from those passing by, women and men alike. Among the attendees were a delegation of hearing impaired women, who said they joined the protest to show solidarity with the struggle for health care for all women. WORD activists kept up the energy by leading the chants and alerting the public that this demonstration extended beyond calling for equal health care rights for women who worked at Hobby Lobby, but to uphold further demands such as a living wage, affordable housing, and childcare for all women, who face intensified oppression.

Protest the Hobby Lobby decision and attacks on women’s rights

Stop the war on women’s rights! 
Health Care Includes Contraception!
Free, safe, legal abortion on demand!


UPDATED Listing of Upcoming Events

WORD organizer speaks out against Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Ruling in San Francisco, Calif.

The Supreme Court has shown itself to be the enemy of all women. The decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby constitutes an immediate attack on women’s health and reproductive rights. The Court is one more weapon in the arsenal of the right-wing, anti-woman bigots who would deny women the right to control our bodies. This is part of a larger set of attacks over the last few years that intend to destroy the rights women won through militant mass movement in the 1970s.

The Burwell decision enshrines the totally unscientific religious beliefs held by owners of a corporation as highly valuable, while denying the healthcare needs of the women workers of the corporation. Because the Green family that owns Hobby Lobby believes—despite thoroughly researched scientific evidence—that life begins at conception, and the morning after pill and IUD prevent conception, the Supreme Court has declared that Hobby Lobby shouldn’t have to comply with the Affordable Care Act coverage of those forms of birth control.

No employer should have the right to deny women their rights to make decisions about their health and well-being, including their reproductive health. The misleading words “closely held” are used by the court to describe Hobby Lobby, but in reality obscure the breadth of their decision. Hobby Lobby is not some small family-owned, religious-based business. It is a giant crafts store with 500 outlets and 16,000 employees. Not one of those 16,000 workers should have their health decisions undermined or negated because of the owner’s beliefs.

The Green family are religious bigots whose belief that contraception is equal to abortion (which it is not) and that abortion is immoral (which it is not) have now been supported by the Supreme Court’s decision.

The ruling that a corporation should be protected as if it were an individual—even though corporations are also protected from individual liability—and that the owners’ religious beliefs allow them to flout the law leads down a slippery slope of bigoted and hate-based politics. This constitutes a dangerous claim that corporate owners and bosses can use to carry out any number of racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, bigoted policies against workers based on their gender, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

WORD categorically rejects the idea that the five rich men, four of whom are white, who wrote this decision have any legitimate say over women’s reproductive rights. The Supreme Court did not grant reproductive rights as a gift in 1973. They were conceded as a response to a mass movement of women in the streets who would not back down.

We must build that movement yet again and say, “We won’t go back!” Join us in the streets this week demanding: Stop the war on women’s rights! Free, safe, legal abortion on demand!

Actions are already being planned across the country (see below for a detailed list). If you are not in a city where there is an action planned, we encourage you to gather your friends and hold a speakout or a banner at a local Hobby Lobby or busy corner. Contact WORD at info@defendwomensrights.org so we can post your plans and encourage others to join each of us where they can. We are building a nationwide movement of women and their allies to fight back against the right wing. Join us!

TAKE ACTION

Join WORD on July 3-13 in a city near you or call an action in your city and add it to the list! Events are being added every day!

Upcoming Events:

New York City, N.Y.
Thurs. July 10, 5:30 p.m.
Gathering at corner of Centre St. and Chambers St.
Info: nyc@defendwomensrights.org or 347-292-WORD (9673)

Chicago, I.L.
Thurs. July 10, 5:00 p.m.
10 S. LaSalle (1 block south of Madison)
Info: chicago@defendwomensrights.org or 773-828-9205

Seattle, Wash.
Sun. July 13, 5:00 p.m.
Future Hobby Lobby site, Aurora Ave N at N. 130th
Info: seattle@defendwomensrights.org or 206-568-1661

Past Events:

San Francisco, Calif.
Thurs. July 3, 5:30 p.m. 
Powell and Market Sts.
Info: sf@defendwomensrights.org or 415-375-9502

New Haven, Conn.
Sat. July 5, 10:00 a.m. 
Hobby Lobby, 68 Frontage Rd, East Haven, CT 
Info: ct@defendwomensrights.org or 203-787-8232

Washington D.C. area: Laurel, Maryland
Sat. July 5, 11:30 a.m.
Meet across the parking lot from Hobby Lobby (near Chik-fil-A)
3333 Corridor Marketplace, Laurel, Maryland
We will walk to Hobby Lobby as a group after we assemble
Info: dc@defendwomensrights.org or 240-487-WORD (9673)

Albuquerque, N.M.
Mon. July 7, 4:00 p.m.
Hobby Lobby, 4315 Wyoming Blvd NE 
Info: abq@defendwomensrights.org or 505-249-1768

Email us at info@defendwomensrights.org to add details of your event!

Reportbacks from Nationwide action to speakout against the Hobby Lobby Decision

On July 3 – 13th, WORD chapters all around the country organized protests demanding that the Supreme Court overturn its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The Hobby Lobby, Inc. ruling prioritizes a corporation’s “religious freedom” over an employee’s right to health insurance coverage, including coverage of contraception.

No employer should have the right to deny women their rights to make decisions about their health and well-being, including their reproductive health. The misleading words “closely held” are used by the court to describe Hobby Lobby, but in reality obscure the breadth of their decision. Hobby Lobby is not some small family-owned, religious-based business. It is a giant crafts store with 500 outlets and 16,000 employees. Not one of those 16,000 workers should have their health decisions undermined or negated because of the owner’s beliefs.

San Francisco, C.A.

On July 3rd, dozens of supporters of women's rights came out to Powell and Market Streets to denounce the Supreme Court decision that an employer's religious beliefs trump a woman's right to health care. The message of the crowd was clear: this is a continuation of the vicious onslaught on women's rights that has been growing especially bad the last few years, and we refuse to stand idly by as our rights are chipped away.

People spoke on the mic to stand against the ongoing war on women, demand the need for abortion on demand, and to declare that contraceptive access IS vital health care for women. Another important message was the importance of people being in the streets to force concessions and win rights.

Participants marched from the rally site around San Francisco's busy Union Square chanting: "2- 4-6-8, the church and state don't ovulate!" and "Every generation has an obligation to women's liberation!" Marchers received cheers of support of many along the route, including at least one worker who said she had been waiting for someone to stand up and fight against the decision earlier that week.

The event was a united action called by WORD, Stop Patriarchy, CODE PINK, SF NOW, and ANSWER.

Albuquerque, N.M.

A courageous group of over 100 Albuquerque residents lined the busy street in front of a Hobby Lobby on July 7. The group was formed not only of women and families throughout the city, but with the help of WORD, NOW and Personhood for Women among others. The signs were mostly handmade, very witty and representative of frustration at Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court, capitalism, the disproportionate rewarding of some religions over others and the residual effects that this ruling will have on other marginalized groups.

It is no surprise that so many women and allies showed up remind Hobby Lobby that their decision reaches far beyond their tight-knit religious family. This attack on women’s reproductive rights comes just 8 months after Albuquerque stood up and said a fierce and resounding NO to the anti-choice ballot brought into the city by the notorious group Operation Rescue. The proposed ordinance intended to stop abortions at or after 20 weeks. However, women and families from all over the city poured in to vote, and stop the ban from happening.

Chicago, I.L.

In Chicago, on July 10, WORD organized a picket the offices of one of the Hobby Lobby co- plaintiffs, Lindsay Rappaport and Postel. Right across the street is also the Thomas More Society which provides legal service for two other Chicago co-plaintiffs, Ozinga and Triune Health Group.

Activists chanted and demanded that the decision be overturned, as it is an immediate attack on women’s health and reproductive rights.

Seattle, W.A.

Protesters picketed at the site of future Hobby Lobby in North Seattle on busy Aurora Avenue (Highway 99). Holding a banner condemning the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decisions and signs stating “Contraception is healthcare,” the protest was greeted with honks of support from many passing cars.

Annette had searched online to find a protest. She hadn’t attended any demonstrations in years, but the Supreme Court’s decision had outraged her and she felt compelled to take action. A man in a wheelchair across the street called out, “I am a Christian and I am against what they [Hobby Lobby] are doing.” A young woman took a handful of fliers to distribute at Aurora Commons, a resource center a few blocks away.

New Heaven, C.T.

On July 5, a group of protesters gathered in East Haven, Ct. to picket a Hobby Lobby store. Protesters assembled in front of the giant Hobby Lobby sign next to a busy road. Holding signs reading “Women’s Rights – Not Corporate “Rights”!” and “We Won’t Go Back – We Will Fight Back!”, the group chanted loudly and was met by approving honks and waves from numerous passing cars. Shoppers pulling out of the parking lot stopped to hear about the Supreme Court decision and what can be done to fight back. One shopper disclosed that she had just been in to Hobby Lobby to return everything she had recently bought there after hearing about the decision.

The protest recognized that the Hobby Lobby ruling was not a single bad apple – it was part of a broader, toxic tendency of right-wing attacks on women’s and workers’ rights across the country; a tendency which can only be met with militant fightback against sexism throughout the system. Maria, a Connecticut woman and worker who attended the rally, said: “I’ve been very angry about this Supreme Court decision. Since 2012, there have been 200 bills to regulate my body and not one about my husband’s.”

IV, a WORD organizer, said “Already, in the immediate wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, religious companies have put in requests to be exempt from laws against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. This is setting a precedent that will allow for racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia to be protected for bigoted bosses to come.”

Washington, D.C. / Laurel, Maryland

During the early afternoon on July 5, activists convened outside of a Hobby Lobby located in Laurel, MD to stand up and demand justice for women. The protest quickly grew, as women passing by were motivated to join the action.

The protest was met with overwhelming approval from those passing by, both women and men alike. Among the attendees were a delegation of hearing impaired women, who said that they joined the protest to show solidarity with the struggle for healthcare for all women. WORD activists kept up the energy by leading the chants and alerting the public that this demonstration extended beyond calling for equal healthcare rights for women who worked at Hobby Lobby, but to uphold further demands such as a living wage, affordable housing, and childcare for all women who face intensified oppression.

#JusticeforJane, a 16-year-old transgender Latina imprisoned without charges

Justice for JaneJane Doe, as she is known because she is a minor, is a transgender Latina teenager who has, in recent months, become a symbol of struggle against mass incarceration, racism, transphobia, victim-blaming and child abuse all in one. People across the country and even overseas have stood up to demand that she be released from York Correctional, an adult women’s prison, where she was placed by Connecticut Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and has now been held for two months in solitary conditions.

Why did DCF imprison Jane?

In her court affidavit, Jane Doe details the abuse she has undergone at the hands of DCF staff and people DCF has placed her with. Jane has undergone unimaginable horrors and undoubtedly has a great deal of trauma to recover from. She reacted the way any abused person would to their abusers, defending herself when her life was threatened again.

Jane’s choice to stand up for herself was threatening to DCF Commissioner Katz. CT DCF has been under federal oversight for around 20 years because of previous abuses of children, and Katz did not want DCF’s neglect and abuse of Jane to become a reason for reinstatement of that oversight. She stood before a choice – to vet her own department and be held accountable for the horrors transpiring in it, or to blame the victim and make sure everyone saw Jane as a monster who could not be believed. Katz chose to let Jane suffer more to protect DCF’s reputation.

Despite having requested millions for the creation of a higher-security lockup for “violent” teenage girls – using Jane’s case as pretext – Katz painted Jane as a violent monster who could not even be contained by that facility. Under 17a-12, an obscure statute that had only been used once before, she had Jane placed at York and entered an additional request that Jane be transferred to Manson, a high-security men’s prison.

DCF hopes that by demonizing Jane Doe they can eliminate the chance of her getting supporters. The exact opposite has been true. Feminists, LGBTQ communities and organizations, activists against racism and mass incarcerations, parents and youth have stood up to demand justice for Jane. We recognize that the mistreatment of Jane can be ascribed largely to her gender identity and nationality, because of which she is painted by the state as both exceptionally dangerous and exceptionally disposable. Jane Doe’s supporters include prominent trans and prison reform figures like CeCe McDonald, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and Piper Kerman.

Join the campaign to demand justice

Fighters for Jane Doe’s freedom have engaged in a massive campaign to demand her immediate release and placement into a safe, therapeutic home. A growing online presence, as well as a series of actions in Hartford – Connecticut’s capital and home to the DCF headquarters – have had an impact, forcing a response from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

WORD firmly joins the growing sea of voices demanding justice for Jane. An injury to one is an injury to all!

To get involved in Justice for Jane, visit the following links:

Dismiss the Case Against Marissa Alexander!

Nationwide actions June 20-21 demand:

Dismiss the Case Against Marissa Alexander!
End the Racist Use of
Stand Your Ground! 

With Marissa Alexander's new trial now just months away, it is increasingly urgent to take to the streets demanding that her case be dismissed.

Racist and sexist Duval County State Attorney Angela Corey has moved full speed ahead with Marissa’s prosecution. Marissa was convicted after a bogus trial in which the prosecution mischaracterized the law to influence the jury. Through the growing movement to free her, she won a second trial on appeal. But the State has thrown the book at Marissa, seeking the maximum term of imprisonment—60 years!—for defending her own life and the lives of her children.

Women around the world will not sit silent as Marissa is prosecuted for a second time. Marissa is not guilty of anything, and should not have served one day behind bars. She should not be facing a retrial. She should be free.

Nationwide actions are taking place June 20 – 21 demanding the case against Marissa be dismissed, and that she not have to face a second trial!

Marissa Alexander is an African American working mother and a survivor of domestic violence. On August 1, 2010, she was attacked by her abusive ex-partner, Rico Gray, just days after giving birth to their child. Trapped in the home, Marissa fired a single warning shot toward the ceiling to protect herself. Now she faces criminal charges, and the State of Florida is trying to imprison her for at least 60 years.

Marissa injured no one–she had the right to self-defense and to be free from abuse.

The State of Florida calls Gray the victim, but he is the culprit. Gray had a history of violence against her and other women, both psychological and physical. Gray was under a court order to refrain from further violence against Marissa.

The prosecution of Marissa Alexander is taking place under the same laws that allowed George Zimmerman to run free without arrest for nearly a month and a half. Zimmerman, the confessed murderer of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin, was charged with second degree murder rather than first degree murder. He was acquitted and set free.

If the Stand Your Ground law used to delay Zimmerman’s arrest were not racist to the core, it would have been used to protect Marissa on the day of the attack. Yet the State of Florida has continued to abuse and prosecute Marissa for nearly four years.

Marissa Alexander’s case is not an isolated one. Women around the country are facing similar conditions. Domestic violence is lethal – approximately one-third of all female murder victims were killed by partners or ex-partners. Since the expansion of mandatory-arrest laws in domestic violence cases, more and more women survivors are being arrested. Approximately 12,000 women have been murdered in the United States alone since 2001 as a result of domestic violence. Marissa’s imprisonment and prosecution are symptoms of these broader problems of sexism and racism against African American women who fight back.

WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) joins with our sisters in the movement demanding Marissa Alexander’s immediate freedom! Join an action in your city June 20 – 21, or organize one today!

Join WORD on June 20-21 in a city near you or call an action in your city and add it to the list!

Event Listing:

Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, June 21
Speak-out
1:00 p.m.
Pershing Square
Info: la@defendwomensrights.org or 323-394-3611

San Francisco, Calif.
Saturday, June 21
Speak-out
11 a.m.
Powell and Market Sts.
Info: sf@defendwomensrights.org or 415-375-9502

New Haven, Conn.
Friday, June 20
Speak-out
5:30 p.m.
College and Chapel Sts.
Info: ct@defendwomensrights.org or 203-787-8232
Also: Get on the bus to D.C. for the Saturday, June 21 "Free Her Rally."
Contact WORD at ct@defendwomensrights.org or 203-787-8232 for ticket info.

Washington, D.C.
Saturday, June 21
Free Her Rally - against mass incarceration of women
10:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Gathering at: Sylvan Theater by the Washington Monument (SE Quadrant)
Info: dc@defendwomensrights.org or 240-487-WORD (9673)

Asheville, N.C.
Saturday, June 21
Street meeting
12:00 p.m.
Vance Monument - Downtown
(at Broadway, Market and College Streets)
Info: asheville@defendwomensrights.org or 828-348-7955

New York City, N.Y.
Saturday, June 21
Speak-out
1:00 p.m.
125th and Lenox in Harlem
Info: nyc@defendwomensrights.org or 347-292-WORD (9673)

Seattle, Wash.
Friday, June 20
Banner drop
6:30 p.m.
45th St Bridge over I-5
Info: seattle@defendwomensrights.org or 206-568-1661

If there is no action in your city, organize one today! Click here to submit your event listing, or email info@defendwomensrights.org for support and assistance.