Bonnie Shapio's Speech at the Unity Rally in Hackensack

Bergen Unity Rally Speech
February 12,2017

Hi, I’m Bonnie Shapiro.

The National Organization for Women has been fighting for equality for women since 1966.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we weren’t needed anymore?!?

I find it fascinating that in 2017, NOW is in the position of representing both women who carry signs saying "I can't believe I still have to protest this shit," and women of later generations who dress up as giant uteruses, wear pink pussycat hats, and proclaim "This pussy will grab back."

The question I hear over and over again is "How did we get here?"  How DID we get here, in such dark times, with such disregard and hatred for women, and with a President who proudly admits to being a sexual predator and serves as a model for our children of sexism, racism and anti-intellectualism?

Women know that we are uniquely targeted through our bodies.  We cannot be equal politically or economically if we cannot control our own bodies.  As time has passed, the progress women hoped for and expected to happen has not happened.  Instead, we are under siege.  Women of color and poor women bear the brunt of this backlash, but all women feel its effects, which is why the anger manifested in the Women’s March existed and exists.

The grandmothers amongst us could easily say, "I fought this fight, I'm done, let the kids do it."  The granddaughters could easily say, "That was a great march, now back to my life."

But that is not really a choice for any of us.  Books have been written and are being written on how we got here.  What matters is how we all, women and men, get out of these dark times, and make sure that the next generation is not born into a world without the women's rights and human rights so many of us thought we already had.  The backlash against us must not become the permanent new normal.  We must say, and believe, like the suffragists way before us, that if it takes a hundred years, we are part of a movement, and this one will secure reproductive and economic justice for all women--for everyone--for all time, because this time we are all in it together.

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