On Friday at noon, dozens of people gathered outside Brooklyn College in New York City. “Out of the classrooms and into the streets,” they chanted, asking students to participate in a walkout for abortion rights.
In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision, students, staff and professors took action. The protest was organized by CUNY for Abortion Rights, a new coalition of activists across CUNY campuses who want to fight for reproductive justice.
The students and staff marched through campus and then began a rally outside the gates of Brooklyn College.
“The same people who are pro life won’t bat a eye when Black and Brown people are brutalized and terrorized by the cops. The same pro lifers who are complicit in proposed 238 anti LGBTQ bills this year alone and the same ‘pro lifers’ who are complicit in the climate emergency we are seeing right now,” said Hennesey, a student at Medgar Evers College and member of NYC for Abortion Rights. “There is no reproductive justice without racial justice. There is no reproductive justice without the liberation of trans, queer and non binary people.”
The rally was MCed by Tatiana Cozzarelli, adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, student at the Graduate Center and member of Left Voice:
The Democrats say they are on the side of abortion rights. But they supported and passed the Hyde amendment which stopped low income people’s access to abortion. Right now, even with this happening, Nancy Pelosi is supporting an anti-choice Democrats in Texas. And they’ve had 50 years to pass free, safe and legal abortion into law and they haven’t done it.
Tatiana reminded people about the Latin American feminist movement whose symbol was the green bandana that many in the crowd were wearing. “We must build a movement in the streets, a green wave, like the one in Argentina to crush all those who oppose our rights.”
Next, Josiah, a former Amazon worker who was involved in unionizing the Staten Island warehouse, took the mic. The crowd cheered, chanting “Fuck Jeff Bezos!”
Josiah said “The Amazon Labor Union supports abortion rights. We are here with you … Rights in general are being attacked all over. Millionaires and billionaires shit on the workers every day. We have to fight back at some point.”
A group of students in the Music Department led the group in a song backed by a trumpet that a student had brought to the protest: “Free abortion, safe abortion, My body, my choice,” the crowd chanted.
Nina, a staff member at CUNY and an incoming nursing student, spoke about the importance of organizing at CUNY. She spoke about the student organizing against the brutal imperialist war in Vietnam, as well as the fighting history of CUNY, which includes student walkouts, sit-ins, and massive protests. “We need that kind of movement now here at CUNY,” she explained.
The need to organize a mass movement for abortion rights is clear. And we have to build that movement by organizing in our workplaces and places of study. We have to build that movement by organizing at CUNY, on every campus, mobilizing our friends, co-workers and colleagues in this struggle.This kind of rank-and-file organizing, of community building and community mobilization is necessary for the fights ahead.
As the rally ended, many committed to taking the streets in the national day of action at Cadman Plaza.
As participants chanted: “I believe that we will win.”