Roe v. Wade: Santa Cruzans march again, with women of color leading the way

Organizer Alissa Maya leads the Womb Sovereignty Walk through downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Seeking greater representation than they felt was present at Friday’s courthouse gathering to protest the Supreme Court rolling back abortion rights, organizers brought together a crowd of around 60 to the downtown clock tower Sunday. The group continued to London Nelson Community Center for speeches and meditation before marching to City Hall.

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Protests continued in Santa Cruz County and around the nation Sunday in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal Friday of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States.

With as many as 26 states having outlawed abortion or moving quickly in that direction, a gathering organized by women of color brought dozens to the clock tower in downtown Santa Cruz. The Womb Sovereignty Walk then proceeded to London Nelson Community Center for what was billed as a healing clinic before continuing to City Hall.

They had a talk on Friday at the courthouse, but there was very little representation of women of color. We just didn’t connect to the energy there, so we said we’re just going to do our own thing,” Maria Ramos, a midwife whose Campesina Womb Justice project aims to support Indigenous women farmworkers in Watsonville, told Lookout’s Kevin Painchaud. “We’re here today to honor Indigenous, Black and other women of color who have always had their rights violated, their bodies abused through sexual violence, domestic violence. There’s just so much violence against women.”

Sunday’s event focused more on women’s and human rights generally than abortion rights specifically.

“We’re gathering as a community, to remind women of their power,” herbalist Alissa Maya, another event organizer, told Painchaud, “and to be in a space where we can honor the land, and be reminded that we are connected to the land, and the land is something we need to be in a relationship with.”

At Laurel Park behind London Nelson, around 60 people — including many families with children — came together in a circle, with organizers Ramos, Maya and Monique Mccomas taking turns speaking at its center. Also in the circle was a statue that participant Rohanna Shultz said represented the divine feminine, which some in the crowd decorated with flowers and others knelt before in meditation.

“I wanted to bring her today to emanate all that love and light,” Shultz said, “and to let everyone know that through our brokenness we can join together, we can share all the love and light and heal.”

“We’re here to remember that we’ve got each other, that we don’t need any patriarchal systems to tell us what to do, or how to feel or how to do anything,” Ramos said. “We can do it on our own.”

“We do feel that this movement is tied to something deeper for Indigenous women,” Ramos added. “We also want our land back, we want our bodies back, our land back. It’s all connected — the root cause is colonization, all those greedy systems that treat people as objects, disposable.”

Check out the gallery below for more of what Painchaud saw Sunday.

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