NARAL Pro-Choice America
 
Wednesday, March 17th, 2004
8:13 pm - Volunteering at the Action Center
I came down from Boston last week to volunteer with NARAL for my high school's Senior Project Month. I knew about the March and I figured NARAL could use an extra hand as the big day approaches. This is my second and final week here at NARAL and i have had a wonderful experience. I have been working in the main office in the mornings and in the Action Center in the afternoons. I've been out and about getting March sign-ups at lunch time and in the afternoons all around the Action Center and all over DC. I was so nervous at first about approaching people on the street. It really keeps you on your toes about the issues because you never know who you are approaching, how much they know, and what their views are. About an hour into canvassing on my first day I lost all inhibitions. I have gained so much confidence talking about the pro-choice movement just from lunch time canvassing. I have gotten tons of sign ups and each time it gets easier for me. Just Tuesday I was on my way home on the train (wearing my NARAL button and carrying a clipboard with sign-up sheets and flyers in my lap!) and two women sitting across from me started questioning me about my work with NARAL and within minutes I had 2 more sign-ups. People everywhere are so interested and eager to get involved, sometimes all you have to do is ask. You can find people ready to sign-up when you least expect it! I'm heading back to Boston on Saturday ready to get involved at home. I'm sure there are people on the streets of Boston too who are interested and just need to be asked!

Joanna
Action Center Volunteer
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Tuesday, March 16th, 2004
2:08 pm - Canvasing
Here at the Action Center my assignment has been to obtain sign-ups and disseminate information and flyers about the March. I chose to start up a lunch time canvasing program, in which I would go to various areas of the District, such as metro stops, parks, and other busy lunchtime locations, hoping to catch the attention of people on their lunch break, and let them know about the March. I have been canvasing twice a week since the third of March, and have already collected around 120 signatures! This can be a challenging task at times, especially with people that only get an hour for lunch, and are in a hurry, but I found that in certain areas of the city I found people are more receptive, and willing to take the time to listen. I found most people to be pleasant and polite in hearing what I have to say. Just think...if one person can collect this many signatures think of what an army of us can do! Please contact Vesta via email at vesta@prochoiceamerica.org or call us at (202) 737-0633 at the Action Center to help mobilize now your freedom of choice.

Tisha
Action Center Crew Member
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Friday, March 12th, 2004
4:08 pm - Hey! I am here at the Action Center!!
Just stopped by this afternoon to meet all the great staff and volunteers. Over 1,000 people have stopped recently by to get information about the March, buy tee-shirts and help out with preparations for the March.

We really have to get leaders in the White House and Congress that will protect a woman's right to choose.

My husband and I have 2 great daughters and we are worried their rights won't be there when they need them.

I believe women and men should be able to plan their families, have access to birth control and not have the government in their private decisions.

Please get your family and friends to join me at the March!

Mary Jane Gallagher, EVP
NARAL Pro-Choice America
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2:25 pm - Don't just march--BE COUNTED!
Last night we were running a phone bank, calling all our VA NARAL members and making sure they sign up to march. We speak to a lot of people who know about the march and are planning on coming but aren't yet registered. In fact, last night one of our board members was on our call list, and when our volunteer spoke to her it turned out that she wasn't actually sure if she was officially signed up or not! I mean, of course she's totally committed to the march and she's deeply involved in the planning process...but she still wasn't registered. So I think our lovely volunteer Julie gets a special bonus prize for that signup. :)

You may be asking yourself, "What's the big deal? I'm coming--why do I have to sign up?" I have to confess that before I joined the Action Center team that's exactly what I was thinking. But now I know how important it is--and I'll tell you why.

If you don't sign up, you're not being counted. The whole purpose of the march is to demonstrate that we are the pro-choice MAJORITY--and that means we need numbers. The press very often underestimates the number of people who turn up for events like this (anyone who went to the anti-war protests and then read about them in the paper knows that firsthand). Of course it's incredibly important to have your body and your voice and your energy on the day of the march; but signing up ensures that people who don't attend the march will hear your voice too. Plus, it'll help YOU--we'll make sure you know where to go on the day of the march.

So SIGN UP! go to http://prochoiceaction.org/va/join.tcl?source=web_march and BE COUNTED as a voice for freedom, privacy, and choice!
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Thursday, March 11th, 2004
4:36 pm - Activists from all over
We see people from all over the country here at the Action Center. Last week we had a lot of people stopping in who were in town for Codepink's International Women's Day activities. Today we met a woman from New Jersey who was in town for a National Council of Jewish Women conference. She bought a shirt for herself and one for her daughter and we loaded her up with all kinds of brochures and other pro-choice gear. She was already working hard on organizing a delegation to come from New Jersey, and she told us she was hoping to reach out to high school students in her area.

There are so many people coming into town for the March from all over the place--it's really inspiring to see their dedication to the cause. We are going to take over this town on April 25th!

Don't forget to sign up for our "Get Marching" listserv at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/takeaction/march_list_signup.cfm to exchange information with fellow travelers and marchers. We have to make sure that everyone who wants to come GETS HERE!
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2004
5:15 pm - Who decides?
At the risk of sounding redundant here is another reason for you to MARCH. As most of you have heard, Chief Justice William Rehnquist hinted in a television interview that he may soon be ready to retire his seat on the nation’s highest court. NARAL Pro-Choice America’s President, Kate Michelman said “A retirement this year would be particularly important, as it appears that several potential direct challenges to Roe could reach the Court in the very near future. The Justice Blackmun papers released last week show just how precarious the right to choose has been in recent history. We cannot afford to let another out-of-the-mainstream nominee get through.” But they will get through if we don’t do anything about it. They will get through if we don’t stand up for what we believe. They will get through if we don’t get our voices heard. The future of choice is in our hands and we need to stand up, March and be heard because we are in the majority. We need to send a loud and clear message that we will not stand aside and let anyone dictate what’s best for us and our bodies.



Vesta

Pro-Choice Action Center Crew Member
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Tuesday, March 9th, 2004
5:02 pm - Victory for Privacy Rights
Yesterday the Justice Department announced that it was backing down from its flagrantly unconstitutional attempt to access the private, confidential medical records of 1,000 women who have had abortions. Two federal judges, including U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in San Francisco, held the line against this latest attempt on the part of John Ashcroft & Co. to intrude further and further into citizens' private lives.

So those of us who are pro-choice and pro-privacy have something to smile about today--but there's no guarantee that the Justice Department won't try again. They are determined to enforce the (also flagrantly unconstitutional) ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions," so you can bet there will be more attacks on women's basic civil liberties to come.

This whole episode really brings home the importance of the courts--1,000 women's private lives were in the hands of two judges this past week. Kind of makes the whole Senate filibuster issue seem a little less arcane, huh?

Sarah M.
Pro-Choice Action Center Team Member
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2:10 pm - Get Marching!
Hi everyone,
We have an exciting new listserv to tell you about. The listserv is at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/takeaction/march_list_signup.cfm and has been specifically designed to help you reach out to other marchers, share your marching plans, and coordinate efforts. This is a chance for those in the D.C. area to show your support for the March for Women's Lives by offering available space in your home to marchers traveling from other parts of the nation. This is also a great place for those out-of-town activists to help fellow activists to get to D.C. by offering a ride, or other transportation ideas.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation created this listserv for people across the country planning to march with us on April 25th in Washington, D.C. when we will send a message to anti-choice policy makers that they cannot continue to erode our right to choose or our right to personal privacy. Please, take advantage of this opportunity to let others know how you're getting ready to march!

Tisha, Vesta, Sarah M, Lisa, and Sara S.
Pro Choice Action Center Crew
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Monday, March 8th, 2004
3:25 pm - Only 4 Days left-help send someone to the March!
Vote

Only 4 days left to vote for your favorite Poster! Be a part of the March for Women's Lives poster contest and let your voice be heard!

Voting will close at the end of the day on Thursday, March 11. All these posters are submitted by people across the country who are passionate about the March for Women's Lives. The winner will get travel and lodging for two to the March.

Take a minute to vote for the poster you like the best and sign-up to get notified about the winner next week. Make sure you stop by the Pro-Choice Action Center when you come to DC to see the winning poster in all its glory. Click here to vote: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/takeaction/march_poster_vote.cfm. After you cast your vote log on to the blog and let us know which poster you liked best and why. Talk to you soon,

Sara
Action Center Crew Member
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Friday, March 5th, 2004
2:43 pm - Everybody has a story
One of the advantages of being at the Action Center is the people we meet. Everybody who walks in has a story and we are continuously amazed and always thankful for their willingness to share. The other day, a woman in her 60's shared her horrifying story of going through an illegal abortion in the 1960's. Her journey took place in New York City—she was young, scared and didn’t know what to expect. She was driven around the city, by different people, in different cars, for hours until arriving at hotel. She said, knowing all that she knows today, she’s thankful the hotel was a nice one and that the room was clean, but to date she has no idea who the person was who performed the abortion or whether he was a doctor. She was just thankful she did not get butchered—she signed up for the march so that others wont have to go through what she went through.

Vesta
Action Center Crew Member
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Thursday, March 4th, 2004
3:46 pm - Rally against the Federal Marriage Amendment
I went to an amazing rally at the Human Rights Campaign last night. People were PACKED on the lawn in front of the building, across the street, IN the street...the energy in the crowd was truly inspiring. About 25 people spoke, everyone from Cheryl Jacques, HRC's Executive Director, to a lesbian Gulf War veteran, to the thirteen-year-old son of two mommies. Some shared personal stories, some were passionately political, but one thing was clear: everybody in that crowd was ready to fight for equal rights for the GLBT community, and everybody was deeply offended and, yes, ANGRY at the administration's support for an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage.

I think what we've seen in the past couple of weeks across the country, and what I saw at the rally last night, is a community drawing a line in the sand: the radical right has been working hard to restrict the rights of GLBT Americans all across the country, state by state, DOMA by DOMA, and now is the time to make it stop. To stand up for your rights and the rights of your friends and loved ones. To protect the safety and integrity of all American families.

Almost everyone I spoke to at the rally knew all about the March--many were already signed up and forming delegations to march with their friends. Which makes perfect sense--everyone there believed individuals should have the freedom to make the most intimate decisions about their family lives for themselves. So here are two ways for YOU to stand up and be counted as a voice for freedom: go to www.millionformarriage.org and sign HRC's petition for marriage equality, and SIGN UP TO MARCH FOR CHOICE at www.prochoicemarch.org

Sarah M.
Action Center Team Member
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11:33 am - Roe V. Wade Almost Overturned
Did you guys hear about the internal notes of Justice Blackmun's which tell of how close Roe was to being overturned. You can find the article at http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=558&ncid=701&e=1&u=/ap/20040304/ap_on_go_su_co/blackmun_papers --If you ever needed a reason to March I think you may have found one!!


Vesta, Sara S., Lisa, Ticia, Sara M.

The Action Center Crew
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004
11:26 am - Meet Up
The March for Women's Lives Meet up was at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, Dc. It's easy, for those of you not familiar with meet ups, go to www.meetup.com where you can find out where the next March for Women's Lives meet up is in your local area. Meet Ups are informal discussions of people getting ready to come to the March. Last night people were talking about their delegation. Do you guys have a delegation you're marching with? Remember a delegation is you with 19 of your friends.

Vesta
Action Center Team Member
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Monday, March 1st, 2004
2:16 pm - Volunteer conversations
On Saturday we hosted a very successful mailing party for NARAL Virginia. There were lots of people here to help and we really enjoyed ourselves. As usual the conversation was flowing and people started talking about South Dakota's recent ban of safe, legal abortion services. It was pointed out that this legislation is specifically targetted to create another Supreme Court case to challenge Roe v. Wade. What do you all think about this theory or SD's ban in general? Hope to hear from you soon.

Sara
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2004
8:04 pm - Our Grand Opening
WOW!!! What a night. Things went really well tonight. We had about 50 guests share in the celebration of our grand opening. Our president, Kate Michelman, answered questions on live radio and spoke to volunteers. She loved the action center and was very impressed by it. Afterward, we had our usual activist night where our volunteers phone banked, stuffed envelopes and helped increase turnout for the March. It was really cool to hear everyone's story about why they're marching. Why are you marching? We want to know.


Talk to you soon.

Lisa, Vesta, Sara and Ticia
The Pro-Choice Action Center Crew
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3:33 pm - Students in DC Mobilizing
Students in the DC area have already been using the Action Center as a place to hold meetings and trainings, and work together to maximize their efforts for the March. It's been really energizing to attend some of these meetings and hear about all the great work that is going on. These women and men are organized, active and want to help bring students from far and wide to DC to March!
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10:05 am - We're Marching On DC!!
We're here live at the Pro-Choice Action Center in DC where our volunteers and staff are working hard to get the word out about the March. Tonight is our grand opening and our president, Kate Michelman, along with elected officials are going to talk with us about the importance of the March for Women's Lives. Since our opening in early February we've been calling, flyering and going to community events getting the word out and we're happy to report that we have over 500 sign ups from the Action Center. It's pretty intense around here, but we're having lots of fun--life around here has been kicked into to high gear as we're getting ready to march!

What are you guys doing out there? We would love to hear how you're organizing your friends, family and community. We'll check back in later but in the meantime don't forget to be counted by signing up at www.pro-choicemarch.org!

Sara, Vesta, Ticia, and Lisa
The Pro Choice Action Center Crew
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