We Won’t Go Back. Now Now, Not Ever.
Organizing the Summer of Rage
On June 24th, the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion, and collectively we knew our country had made a sharp turn we might not come back from. After five years of watching the eroding rights of women, LGBTQ people, and people of color, the Women’s March decided it would respond with a clap back of its own—declaring this the “Summer of Rage.”
Some of their best organizers got to work knowing that what we would need in a time like this would be a show of numbers. As a call back to the 2017 Women’s March that rocked the nation from the Mall in Washington, they created events that drew thousands of women around all 50 states to stand up against our many eroding freedoms. The biggest event of which has been the Women’s Convention.
The Women’s Convention partnered with organizations like Black Feminist Future, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and We Are Ultraviolet to develop a weekend space with everything from workshops to strategy sessions and forums. Their goal was to “build a nation that works for all of us.”
Attending the Women’s Convention
On Aug 12-14 in Houston, Texas, some 1500 people—mostly female bodied—gathered for a one-of-a-kind event. Daily, the main hall was packed, and the feeling of resistance was powerfully palpable when presenters like Roxanne Gay and local Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee took to the stage. Other leaders were featured in events like Feminist Jeopardy, and many leaders who did not take the stage led healing practices and tabling in the marketplace so eloquently dubbed “Social Justice City.”
The scene was alive with the spirit of forward motion and communal comradery. Artwork from Black, indigenous, and LGBTQ people was so strategically displayed that signs of power and resistance were in every sightline from the main stage to the secluded workshop rooms. These artistic revelations invited us as spiritual leaders to ask ourselves how we might keep these fires of inclusivity growing in our own faith circles: How we might continue to ignite movement work into the hearts of those who have otherwise felt disembodied from their power.
Auburn, a long-time supporter of the Women’s March, eagerly joined the fray with Lisa Anderson, Sharon Groves, Crystal Cheatham, and Michael Vasquez representing. Organizers created a call to action so moving that many attendees noted it was their first time gathering at any conference after the Covid-19 shutdowns. Many attendees were new to social justice work and activism altogether but arrived to be inspired, be challenged, get connected, and get educated. This influx of engagement is not new but indeed a trend throughout the US. In response to the proposal of so many egregious laws, we are seeing record numbers of women registering to vote in what will damningly be a cliffhanger of a midterm election. We are hurtling towards a finish line that could solidify an uninhabitable America for so many, and it is clear this event has brought our nation’s most heated debates to the forefront of women’s minds.
With this incredible show of engagement and turnout, the “Summer of Rage” has effectively become a seeding ground for the election.