Intern Reflects on Women’s Rights Moral Monday

Julie Tulbert, Policy Intern and William & Mary Law School Student 

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I was excited to attend my first Moral Monday protest for an issue near and dear to my heart – women’s rights. The press conference and protest was held in the rotunda of the North Carolina General Assembly. This proved a great advantage as the 100+ crowd seemed even larger as the voices of the speakers and the protesters echoed off the circular walls.

Speakers from different organizations addressed a variety of issues affecting North Carolina women. NARAL Pro-Choice NC Board Chair, Jina Dhillon, addressed the recently enacted House Bill 465 that tripled the waiting period for abortions and requires doctors to submit ultrasounds to Department of Health and Human Services. Speakers from Moms Rising talked about the impact of environmental justice on women and families and also how the General Assembly has made it harder for moderate income families to access healthcare. Several speakers voiced concern about how the General Assembly is failing to protect the rights of teachers, particularly relevant when the majority of teachers in North Carolina are women. Food access for the whole state (not just Raleigh) was addressed by the Fertile Ground Food Coop.

Young political activist Maddie Kimrey gave a rousing speech on a number of concerns for North Carolina women, including the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which is in the NC Senate now as Senate Bill 184, but hasn’t seen any movement since March. Discussing in conjunction with H.B. 465, Kimrey stated, “I refuse to accept that men who think I need 72 hours to make decisions about my own healthcare refuse to devote any of their hours to a nonpartisan solution to address pay inequality, workplace discrimination, and violence against women.”

The feeling I took away from my first Moral Monday is that we are stronger as a community, but that also, as women, we cannot be pigeonholed as just being for one issue or another. We are from diverse backgrounds and have diverse goals in the fight for women’s equality here in North Carolina. When we choose to support and listen to each other to achieve this ultimate goal, we are certainly a force to be reckoned with, and the North Carolina General Assembly better watch out!

You can see the entire Women’s Rights Moral Monday rally here! Check out the NC NAACP website for the 2015 Summer of Moral Resistance events schedule. We encourage you to join us tomorrow for Voting Rights Moral Monday!

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