On Sunday, close to 300 people came together to protest the overturning of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case. The protest, led by Kejuan Goldsmith and We the Change-makers, saw people of all ages, races, creeds and affiliations coming together to fight for human rights, according to We the Change-makers flyers.
The Racine County Eye was at Monument Square to find out what this means to the people of Racine.
Monteazul Cruz-Seymour, Sr. is a social activist, who also has a weekly show called “OCOR (Our Community, Our Responsibility) Racine.” He spoke in-depth about why he was there.
“As a person in the minority community, as a Native American-Mexican here in the United States, Roe v. Wade is a landmark case that set precedents – and was based on precedents – that affected all of our civil liberties and rights. Now Clarence Thomas is talking about removing same-sex marriage, criminalizing same-sex intercourse.
“It’s not just about the right for a woman to choose; it’s so much more, and that’s horrible enough, right? If it was just the right to choose what to do with someone’s personal body… it would be horrifying, but all of the precedents that it can change based off of that are even more damaging to our community. This is going to affect the LGBTQ, the POC, the BIPOC communities the most. The poor communities are going to suffer more than any other community.
“Rich people can go anywhere they want when they need to, and they do regularly. Let’s point out Lauren Boebert, right? She needed something, she got it done. She had the money to do it. For those of us who come from poor communities, we don’t have that money, we don’t have that freedom, we don’t have that ability. They’re stealing that from our community. And to target an entire gender alone, like how much more fascist do we get as a country? While we’re screaming about right, and freedom of choice, they’re restricting the freedom of choice for anyone who doesn’t choose what they want. It’s their belief that is important.”
Giving voice to the protestors
Susan Sheldon and Mary Ann Staupe have been human rights activists since 1968.
“This is worse than the ’70s,” said Sheldon. “The loss of our rights are just crumbling beneath our feet. Things that we fought so hard for – union rights: gone, voting rights: gone; women’s rights: gone, banning books, it’s just, it’s so scary. I feel like we are in pre-war Germany.”
“We’re headed towards fascism, unfortunately,” added Staupe. “I mean that’s just heartbreaking, who would’ve thought it? All the wonderful – our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who fought and died in two world wars to prevent fascism, and here it’s coming to our shores and they’re welcoming it.”
Connie Madsen joined in the conversation, saying, “Am I going to be able to stay married to my husband? I have a white husband. They fought for that. Is that going to change too?”
“It is about so much more,” Madsen continued. “It’s really attacking our civil liberties. It goes much farther than just this issue. This is terribly important; it is just the beginning.”
“As a Latina woman, it plays a lot harder in my community,” Janet Serrano said after she finished addressing the crowd. “We know that Black and Brown folks are marginalized and we know that it’s going to affect us the most. So, I’m angry. And it means that we need to keep an eye out for other policies that are being made that are hurting our communities. The time is now.”
“It’s important to show them that we need to stand up for what’s right; that we have to be involved in the civic process in American life,” said Jacob Ansari, who came to the protest with his family. “It’s important for my daughter that we fight for her rights, and it’s important for our sons to teach them to be better men.”
Leanna Johnson addressed her concerns for the future. “This is only going to lead to more changes in a very negative way. Birth control is next. Gay marriage is next. They’re valuing guns over women and children, quite frankly.”
About halfway through the protest, Goldsmith led people into the street where they stood, single-file, down the center line of Main Street as cars drove past them on both sides. The number of people rose to about 50 as they then took to marching north on Main Street for three blocks before Goldsmith was arrested for “obstruction of justice and resisting arrest” on the corner of Main and Third Streets.
Goldsmith posted on his Facebook page, “You can arrest me. You can charge me with bogus charges. But you’ll never silence me. Ain’t no power like the power of the people cause the power of the people don’t stop!”
Browse more images from the protest in the slideshow below.