From NYC to Cleveland! East Coast Caravan Report Back!

By Riley Ruiz | August 4, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


WOW, only five days out and we have already begun making breakthroughs. During our Cleveland stop, we rallied and marched through downtown Cleveland with a relatively small but strong crew, chanting things like, ‘Women will decide their fate, NOT the church, NOT the state!’ all along the way. We stopped at various areas with more crowds of people and many gave us raised fists and smiles. We interviewed supporters and onlookers, and challenged those who did not agree with what we were setting out to do. Through engaging with people who had disagreements, others were drawn in, and were confronted with whether or not these disagreements were rooted in the truth, or whether they were rooted in ignorance, blind faith, or simple confusion, as there are so many lies about what an abortion actually is, as well as stigma attached to this question. It really does take being confronted with the truth, and relating this to reality, that people are able to begin sifting through all the lies and bullshit.

One of our many agitators, a Black woman who came out to rally with us in solidarity, was speaking very sharply to the ways this system still views and treats women as well as Black people as second class citizens. She refused to be sent back to the hanger in terms of abortion rights, and she connected this up with slavery, refusing to go back to the days where Black people were viewed as less than human. She recognized this as the foundation of this country which still exists today, only in new form and need to both expose and fight against this.

Another young man, who began filming us, spoke to the horrors of the world, which he does not want to see more innocent children being brought into. He was a father of three and said that as it was, he was afraid for his children to grow up in a world like this, and was still trying to figure out how he would talk to his son about the murder of Trayvon Martin. By confronting the fact that forced motherhood is a form of enslavement, he recognized that women could have long-term mental effects from something like this, and by the end of the interview, he deeply understood, through his own wrangling with this question, the need to be fighting around this.

That evening, the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride honored clinic workers from various clinics in Cleveland, as well as a clinic escort who was brutally beaten by anti-abortion fascists, who sent this man to the hospital due to his severe injuries. He explained that these antis had been preparing an attack on him, having seen him out before, doing work around gay rights, and that this was a ‘double whammy’ as he called it, for them. He explained that this would not stop him from standing up for women because this is what is so needed. The clinic workers spoke about the joy they receive giving women the vital care they so need and deserve. They shared how rewarding it is to hear the simple ‘thank you’ from women as they leave the clinics. They all recognized the fact that abortions are so vital for women, and that regardless of what the antis and the state do to restrict this right, abortions will still continue, only they will become more and more unsafe. These people recognized and appreciated the work that the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride is aiming to do to change all of this in resetting the terms and creating a strong counter-offensive throughout society which will not stand for women to go back to the days before Roe. 

Cleveland was a wonderful first stop. So sorry for the delay on the reports! We have been so busy travelling and working hard. Chicago and Madison updates coming soon!

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