is a new grassroots organization that emerged to counter the "war on women" being waged through public policies at the state and national levels. The movement, called Unite Against The War on Women, mobilized
to counter conservative legislation like the mandatory “trans-vaginal ultrasound” measure in Virginia, attempts by state legislatures to criminalize contraception and family planning, and efforts to suppress voter turn-out, among other policies deemed to be an assault on women.
Unite Against The War on Women held marches and rallies all across the United States on April 28th. "We will be standing with women and men in every State making sure that our voices are heard!" the organization stated
In Arkansas, marches and rallies were held in Little Rock
, and in Fayetteville
Nwahomepage got it right when it reported that "The women marching Saturday say they want to send a message to lawmakers, that every person be granted equal opportunities, rights and representation." It was, however, off the mark when the news organization wrote, "A group of local ladies come together in Fayetteville to march for women's rights."
Pictures of the march and rally in Fayetteville, taken by Jacob Richardson for the NWA Unite Against the War on Women March and Rally, show that women, men, girls, and boys participated in the event.
DigitalJournal.com contacted Kelly Eubanks, Arkansas State Liaison for UniteWomen.org, for a more in-depth interview concerning the event. Eubanks was first asked about the numbers. How many people participated in the Fayetteville event? "The event was split into three parts," Eubanks said. "One-hundred and thirty participated in the pre-march rally in front of the Walton Arts Center, we had about 150 during the march itself, and then we had 300 at the rally that took place after the march in front of Fayetteville Town Center."
There were speakers at the pre-march rally, including Eubanks and Ken Aden
. Aden is the Democratic candidate for the Third Congressional District in Arkansas, and he stopped by the rally prior to embarking
on his "Run 2 End Hunger II" effort
. Aden is seen in the picture to the left, as is a young girl who is holding a sign that reads in the front “Equal Pay for Equal Work” while carrying a baby doll on her back.
Eubanks was asked to talk about the overall goals of the march and rally. Eubanks replied:
The over all goal of this march and rally was to raise awareness and to educate people on various women's rights issues, and to help defend women's rights in the pursuit of equality. A major focus of the events here in Arkansas was educating people on the Equal Rights Amendment, and the history of the fight to ratify it here in Arkansas. The Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the United States Constitution, Arkansas is one of the states that never ratified it, and there are many people out there that aren't even aware of this fact!
We also wanted to send a message to all the anti-women members of Congress in Washington, DC and to state legislators that we as women will not stand for the attacks being waged on our rights, and reproductive choices. We will remember these attacks when it comes time to vote, and we will continue educating people on the issues and attacks being waged on women in this country. We vote, we deserve equal rights, and we will not stand by quietly and let these attacks continue.
As seen in the picture at right, Eleanor Evans
, and her mother, Kaye, illustrate that a battle in the "war on women" was fought decades ago, but the war was not fully won and re-emerged today.
People at the march and rally were obviously talking about the ERA, but Eubanks said other issues were on their minds as well including proposed and enacted legislation. When asked about specific bills, Eubanks said, "There is so much anti-women legislation it's hard to say where to start! In the past year alone there were over 1100 provisions and bills that attacked women's rights according to the Guttmacher Institute's most recent report
, that is up from the record-breaking 900 the year before."
As indicated by Eubanks, the march ended with a rally at the Fayetteville town center. Among the speakers were former politicians, current politicians, and those running for office. One of the speakers was Maria Hicks who is running for Justice of the Peace, District 7, in Washington County Arkansas. "She delivered the most amazing speech on the ERA at our rally," Eubanks said. Hicks' speech is featured in the video above.