by David Miller
Loveland, Ohio – Adults and children from across the tri-state gathered in Nisbet Park along the Little Miami River in Historic Downtown on a sunny and warm Fall Sunday afternoon to be part of a “Women’s Wave” of activists out to change the course of voting patterns in our community. After speeches, they walked for an hour throughout our business district and along the Loveland Bike Trail engaging locals and tourists with the refrain of the sentiments they were so adamant about. It was a demonstration for human rights and as odd as that sounded throughout the streets of this quaint community nicknamed, “The Sweetheart of Ohio” it happened. “Human Rights” that have been taken away from themselves, their children, and those they love. The political agenda on most minds was the U.S. Supreme Court overthrowing Roe v Wade and a woman’s right to have an abortion, reproductive rights such as birth control, and how that decision led to even more extreme legislation and proposals from some elected officials at the Ohio Statehouse, and in D.C.
Health care, including the sometimes life-saving medical care of needed abortions and the tangled net that women and their healthcare providers are caught in, gun violence, mass shooting in schools, the right to gender equality, LGBTQ people’s rights, and a safer future for young girls were all talking points throughout the afternoon.
Many Democratic candidates for local and state offices spoke and a candidate for the U.S. House. Parts of Loveland are in Ohio Representative Jean Schmidt’s district and the local organizer, Bailey Moak, said that is why she chose downtown Loveland for the event location. She wants to show Schmidt where the unemployment line is. She believes that Schmidt and other currently serving politicians don’t align with Loveland’s values.
I asked organizer Moak on Monday to send me some of her thoughts after the event had ended. You can also watch her speaking at the event and watch a photo essay of photos from the event below. The rally was certainly an appeal for local “pro-choice” residents to get to the polls on November 8 and vote for “pro-choice” candidates, however, the photo essay will explain why so many people gathered in the park, their myriad reasons, and then marched.
I found the event to be a huge success. We met our goals to engage and educate voters, raise awareness to threats against women’s rights in our community and shed light on dangerous politicians like Jean Schmidt from Loveland who proposed legislation to ban medical care to women and children across Ohio (HB598), and ban access to curriculum on diversity and inclusion to students across our state (HB616). We rallied, we celebrated the promise of what new leadership can do to preserve and expand our freedoms, and we marched in protest of extremism and hate. During the March we disrupted some nice family dinners occurring on the patios of local businesses in Downtown Loveland with our passionate demonstration. This disruption is NECESSARY. All too often we side-step important discussions with our families, friends and community members to avoid feeling uncomfortable. The only way individuals, families and communities can grow is through engagement and vulnerability, which can result in a bit of discomfort. As demonstrators passed, families and friends breaking bread together were compelled to address important topics, which in my experience, leads to understanding and connection. This is why we Listen. This is why we Speak. This is why we Act. We do it for our communities and families. I want to thank our passionate volunteers and our speakers: Brian Flick, Dr. Jeanne Corwin, Dr. Vanessa Enoch, Dr. Nabila Babar, Joy Bennett, Jen Perez and Rep. Jessica Miranda, and our partnering organizations: Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, Ohio ACLU, Ohio Red Wine and Blue, the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus and Democracy in Action for participating in this event. I also want to thank the City of Loveland, the Loveland Fire Department, and Loveland PD Chief, Michael Gabrielson for their support in working with event organizers to ensure this was a safe and successful event that this community can be proud of.