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gender & sexuality | human & civil rights

Interest in a Pro-Choice March

I am looking for information on how to organize a pro-choice march, preferably an enormous one, in Portland this summer. I've never organized a march before, so I'm looking for advice, ideas, support, and some idea of how much interest is out there. In a perfect world, thousands and thousands will show up to let our government know where we stand.
Our civil rights are in serious danger and women everywhere are about to lose their right to choose. Our children will be denied sex education and the tools to avoid disease or unwanted pregnancy. It is past time to stand up and fight before we are barefoot, pregnant slaves. Ideally this march would be for anyone who would like to keep their right to choose; to choose safe sex, to choose the role of parent (or not), to choose one's life partner, whatever. I'm looking for anyone with advice to offer on how to get started organizing this, and for some idea of how many people would show up and march. Old white men making our life choices is wrong. It is time to let them know!

Interested 22.May.2006 18:31


That sounds like a good idea. I at least would support that.

networking 23.May.2006 18:33


Just a little advice and some questions to think about. I don't want to discourage you (and indeed may show up for it if that weekend isn't already booked for this summer which is coming up SOON--do you already have your permit from the city?) You need to have a vision of what this will be and where it will take you. You must then set goals. Is this a fundraiser (who will the money be donated to?) Is this a party (reason enough)? Is this a bunch of people marching around downtown (why?) Then and only then you can recruit help and you'll need to set up a pretty aggressive timeline to make it happen.

Is this something you want to devote all of you waking time and energy to, or would you rather hook up with a national or local organization and their budgets and resources? Would your time and energy be better spent volunteering with one of these organizations or another already existing group? Will a big march accomplish the goal(s) you've set? Is it a realistic goal to accomplish this summer.

I recommend that you do some networking (yes, I know that's what you're trying to do now). Talk to folks at NARAL, etc, even if they aren't going to be official "sponsors", they may have grants etc that you can get access to (although it's likely to be too late for grant proposals). Throwing a gigantic march costs quite a bit of $$$ and even more time. You will need people to help. Committed, reliable people who can be given a task ("you there...get banners and posters printed") and complete it in a timely manner without you double-checking everything. Network with folks you know who work in the printing and sound (you'll need a PA system, I assume). Will you have speakers? Can you get them lined up on this kind of notice?

Anyway... not to rain on your parade... I just think the kind of energy you are proposing spending might be better spend within the already existing structures. There are many non-profits who would love to have you volunteer your time and energy without reinventing the wheel for a 1-day march. Do some volunteering and networking and learn about event organizing to do this right next summer, perhaps. There are many groups who would love to have you volunteer to help organize a march or fundraiser, where you could learn the ins and outs and what needs to happen to make it successful.

If you give it thought and still want to do this, more power to you and I'll see you there. Otherwise, think about other ways you can give to the community and the reproductive rights cause that can give you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Create the vision, set the goals, and the rest will happen.

Do not work with existing groups 01.Jun.2006 13:00

like Planned Parenthood and NARAL

They won't help you- they seem to have a vested interest in discouraging collective action.