Pro-choice advocates rallied around the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park on Saturday, commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the landmark case that granted women the right to choose to have an abortion.
Approximately 200 people attended the rally, which was sponsored by the Santa Barbara Pro-Choice Coalition and Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX). The event featured speakers, live music, slam poetry and displays featuring information regarding different sex-related classes offered at UCSB.
Attendees also signed letters to President George W. Bush, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other politicians to express support for women’s rights.
Amara Allenstein, VOX president and rally coordinator, said the purpose of the letters was to support pro-choice issues and to increase crowd participation in the day’s activities.
Allenstein said groups such as Arts & Lectures and the UCSB Bookstore donated money to help cover the $1,500 cost of the event. She said most of this money was spent on advertising.
In addition to celebrating the Roe v. Wade decision, Allenstein said VOX sponsored the event in order to recruit more members and educate local residents about the current threat to pro-choice policies.
“If I get one more member of VOX, I will be satisfied, because even one more person can make a difference,” Allenstein said.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) spoke at the event and reminded her audience of the importance of defending a woman’s right to choose.
“We’ll find people and we’ll make our voices heard,” Capps said.
Though the rally’s planners chose to hold the event in Isla Vista in order to draw more students than in previous years, few students attended the event.
Alexis Langston-Cooper, a freshman pre-biology major, said she did not think the event was as successful as its planners had anticipated.
“It was exciting to see so much of the older generation, but a disappointment to see so few students,” Langston-Cooper said.