Bigger Than Roe: 2023 Begins
January in Texas has its ups and downs. Weather-wise, it was down today, with the wind blowing chills through the people who gathered at the JFK Memorial in Dallas. It was SMD’s second protest of the year after Defend Dallas Drag, and as always, we were shorter-staffed than we would have liked. But with three Street Medics, we had a plan as always, and kept our eyes on success.
When getting out of my car, the first thing I heard was the sound of a baby crying… over a megaphone. It took a few moments for me to realize what happened – counter protestors were already on site and had cranked their sound equipment up to be as loud as possible. As I passed by them, they cranked the volume even higher and shouted directly into my ear – perhaps it was the pink medic shirt that made them feel threatened. Despite once again feeling anger well up in me, I stepped away as my ears rang from the assault, refusing to directly engage. As I’ve said before, it was not why I was there. Not my role. The crowd started off small, but grew larger as time went on, with clever and important signs and chants that I will sprinkle throughout this post.
Pro-life is a lie; they don’t care if people die!Protest Chant
The counter-protestors had louder microphones, and their ranting was random and often times off-topic. As the men jumped from abortion to LGBT to “Daddy Jesus” (and I had to again resist the urge to point out that I did not consent to be part of any kinks today), their message started to scramble as their speaker began stringing buzzwords together without regard for sentence structure or clarity. While the protest’s equipment may not have been as loud, the crowd gathered closely to listen to the organizers as they clearly stated their intent – to show Dallas and the world that abortion is healthcare, and that government overreach had no place in pregnant people’s bodies.
The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being, and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.Protest sign quoting Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The march began, everyone mobilizing efficiently to take to the streets. The counter-protestors stayed behind, presumably because that much walking would have been far too intense for them. They stayed behind to catch their breath, I imagine, from all the strenuous harassment. But dedicated to their cause, the protestors moved forward, chanting as they charged straight into the cold winds. Everyone would know what they stood for, dedicated to their cause. Life doesn’t change when you sit on the sidelines, no matter what you believe in or choose to fight for.
People on sidewalks took pictures, photographers and videographers followed along snapping shots and taking clips at intersections as the group continued their chants heedless of the intense cold winds blowing across the streets. Some people not affiliated with the protest joined in on chants or offered support via high fives and fist bumps. Others watched and filmed from the sidelines. But perhaps the best news (at least for us) from the event was that we were completely unneeded that day.
Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make the system fall!Protest chant
Being a Street Medic is a strange thing. You want to be there, you need to be there. But you don’t want to be necessary. You hope, you pray, you plead that your services will not be needed, that you will be a walking redundancy. Our role today was simply to hand out bottles of water to marchers after the protest. There were no altercations with the aggressive counter-protestors. No twisted ankles, no dehydration injuries, no medical emergencies. We followed, watched, and hoped we provided any amount of confidence and security to those demanding change, and we thankfully were not needed. But we continued to build bonds with protestors who more and more see the work that we do, and we met more people interested in getting involved.
Make your voice heard. Reach out to others. Stand up for what’s right. Do what you know how to do. That’s how Street Medics – Dallas does things. We have a chance to make a difference, so we choose to take it. The question is, will you?
We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to community outreach, caring for the marginalized, and ensuring safety and the right to peacefully protest. We do everything we can to make the DFW area a better place, but we could always use the help of the members of our community. If you’re looking to do more and support those who need it, would you consider volunteering or donating?