A march organized in Long Beach was one joined by thousands of demonstrators across the country on Saturday for Women’s Wave Weekend, where nationwide demonstrations advocated for reproductive rights and the reinstitution of Roe v. Wade.
Approximately 100 demonstrators marched from the Long Beach Superior Courthouse to Harvey Milk Park, gathering supportive honks or disapproving shouts from the window of cars passing by.
The Long Beach demonstrators called not only for reproductive rights, but also advocated for Proposition 1, which would amend the California Constitution to protect reproductive rights and the choice to have an abortion.
Lisa Del Sesto, founder of LB/OC Women Rising, organized the march and hosted a community activism fair at Harvey Milk Park to encourage residents to vote for pro-choice candidates.
“[Politicians] need to have seminars or a class to understand women’s reproductive health and to understand the path of pregnancy,” Sesto said. “I don’t know how a person can legislate without understanding what it is they’re legislating on.”
Josh Lowenthal, a pro-choice candidate for California State Assembly District 69, was one of the guest speakers at the activism fair.
“We need to figure out how to adequately fund women’s health care facilities and provide access to care throughout the state, and potentially throughout the country,” Lowenthal said. “California needs to be a beacon of human rights and reproductive justice.”
Sunny Zia, Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees member for Area 3, referenced the situation in Iran, where Mahsa Amini was killed in police custody for incorrectly wearing her hijab, to illustrate the fragility of women’s rights.
“In Iran they had democracy and the freedoms that we have, and it was taken away from them,” Zia said. “We have to be visible, vocal and vigilant and vote, especially for Proposition one.”
Naida Tushnet, with the Long Beach Area Peace Network, and her friend Sylvia Mannheim, 97, said they remembered celebrating the passing of Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.
“Overturning [Roe v. Wade] doesn’t ban abortions, it bans safe abortions,” Tushnet said. “I know people who had illegal abortions. Women will keep getting abortions, but if they don’t get safe abortions they’ll die.”
Sesto said LB/OC Women Rising has no demonstrations planned for the rest of the month, but plans to continue advocating for pro-choice candidates before the November midterm elections.