Earlier this week, I started receiving messages about a group of women organizing to protest against the War on Women. Behind it all? A Michigan woman named Karen Teegarden.
Her impetus for organizing this grassroots movement, which is spreading like wildfire across the fifty states, is best described in her own words. The following letter was a recent Facebook post in response to the overwhelming enthusiasm with which her organizing efforts have been received by women and some men across America:
A note from Karen Teegarden
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES.
I must begin this post by thanking Desiree Jordan. During a venting session on the phone late last Saturday night, we both could not believe that someone hadn’t organized a march for our voices to be heard. The legislation and rhetoric against women’s rights was multiplying at such a fast rate and we were angry. Saying goodbye, Desi said we should just do it. Of course, how many times have we said things like that only to go on with our daily tasks?
Something changed in me that night. I hung up the phone and for the first time ever, created a Facebook group. Organizing Against The War On Women was intended to share with my friends in hopes that we might be able to get some kind of event going.
One week later, we have over 10,000 passionate members, some with amazing experience and some complete novices, united in a common cause to regain our voices and fight the forces trying to take us back decades.
I now realize we have tapped into something much larger than our events on April 28th. My vision has evolved from a one day march against the war on our rights to uniting men and women in protecting and advancing women’s voices for the long term. As long as there is a war on women’s rights, we’ll continue to fight back.
To that end, we are announcing our new name “Unite Against The War On Women”. We have purchased the URL UniteWomen.org which will now feed into the public Facebook page.
We will be changing the banners on all pages to our new logo and posting our new square logo to use for profile pics and two versions of our mission statement…a red version and a white version for ease of printing. All of these can be found in Photos.
I cannot begin to express how excited and proud I am of all of you for wanting to make a difference.
As a friend said to me yesterday, “These legislators and extremists picked the wrong people to have a war with!”
Exactly one week ago we were 2 angry voices. Now we’re over 10,000 and counting. And people are starting to take notice.
In a week’s time, more than 10,000 people have connected with this growing movement and plans for regional marches in each state have developed. How did this grow from one woman expressing her frustration to a friend to a national rallying cry that has called thousands of women together to organize for social actions in their own hometowns? Behold the power of social media.
While these grassroots political activists largely seem new to the world of organizing, their enthusiasm appears to be compensating for whatever experience gap there may be.
R.S. Pienta is a professor of Education and Women’s Studies who occasionally appears as a contributing writer on gender issues, politics, and public policy for the Florida Progressive Coalition. In 2011, her writing on women and political advocacy was featured in the edited collection The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How to Do It. She is currently working on a Women’s Studies book for the McGraw Hill Taking Sides series.