From Stop Patriarchy

Welcome to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas

August 31, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


August 4. Greetings and welcome to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas, organized by Stop Patriarchy. I have been with the Riders for almost a week. I am a little short on sleep and clean clothes but I would not want to be anywhere else.

We are fortunate to be working with such great people. Our amazing Advisory Board includes Carol Downer, Diane Derzis, Merle Hoffman, Wendy Robinson, Mary Lou Singleton and Sunsara Taylor. This is more than just a list of impressive names; these women are wholly involved and committed. The board represents almost 30 years of combined education and a combined 180 years of practical experience in the fight for women's reproductive rights.

Abortion Rights Freedom Riders, 2014

The Freedom Riders on the ground in Texas come from over a dozen states that include both coasts, the midwest and the south. Some are in their teens, some are senior citizens. They are an amazing, eclectic group and I learn something from them every day.

I have been involved with Stop Patriarchy for about a year. I have a Ph.D. from a Big Ten school and have been a tenured member of a University department for over fifteen years. I have lived my whole life in the midwest and am proud to say things like "hot dish" and "uffda." I traveled with the ARFR in 2013 and am now in Texas because I am sick to death of waiting for the politicians and courts to really stand up for women. Yes, I see individual struggles in different parts of the country but it is clearly part of a larger pattern of oppression. I was raised as a good Democrat, working on many local, state, and national campaigns. After years of watching, hoping, voting, and campaigning I have decided to make some noise because obviously the usual approaches are not working. We will not effect real change from the top down but rather from the bottom up.

I cannot overstate the importance of this moment. Women's rights really are in a state of emergency. What you hear on the news is just the tip of the iceberg. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that certain other "pro-choice" people were more concerned about the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders than they were about the real issues facing women today. These noisy distractors are busy with Twitter attacks against board member and Stop Patriarchy founder, Sunsara Taylor, but have refused to acknowledge important commentary by other board members or engage in real dialogue with individual Freedom Riders. With so much on the line, why do they focus their time and energy on the wrong issues? Why are they content to dismiss and slander a group of committed activists when there is real battle to wage? I have read their statements and position papers and seen them refuse to dig deep and look for truth. If they were in my University class i would give their work an F. In my research classes we use multiple sources, footnotes, and facts, not biased, inconsistent opinion.

I am on this Freedom Ride for a reason: because I am tired of being ignored and am no longer going to remain silent. I am not going to be silenced by politicians and I am certainly not going to be silenced by online strangers. While we are on the road I plan to blog about the ARFR, who we really are, why we are here, and how we see this struggle. If you want to know what the ARFR is really about, I invite you to follow this blog.

Why is forced motherhood equal to female enslavement? Why is it necessary to demand "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology?" In what way do local and state restrictions reflect a pattern of national emergency.

Most importantly I will explain what is now 100% clear to me: we MUST stand up and fight. We cannot and should not sit around and mourn the continued loss of basic freedoms, we need to stand up and make some noise. You will meet the other Freedom Riders and understand their commitment to the fight for women's reproductive rights.

That is all for now. See you next time as we continue to speak rationally and truthfully about the important struggle before us.

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