Chloe S. Kozal | Reporter
After the leaked draft opinion over the Supreme Court’s ruling over the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was released by Politico on May 2. Pro-choice supporters began protesting in wide numbers across the country.
Local protests here in Bowling Green were initiated by individual citizens, such as BGSU ‘22 alumna Makayla Williams-Barker and women’s groups such as the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Wood County began sounding the alarm against perceived threats to bodily autonomy, organizing protests throughout the end of May and into July.
BGSU 2022 Psychology B.A. alumnae Makayla Williams-Barker and Caitlin Schultz organized protests on June 26, and July 1, at the intersection of Main St. and Wooster in Bowling Green.
The “Abort the Supreme Court” protest on July 1, 2022 began with the chant: “Show me what democracy looks like,” and the reply “This is what democracy looks like”.
The chant was initiated by the protest’s organizers. According to The BG Independent News, almost 100 people had gathered at the intersection of Wooster and Main on Friday by 4 p.m. when the protest began, with more arriving throughout the evening.
Williams-Barker had previously organized protests in late May and in June. The organizers primarily recruited and spread the word about the protest primarily through social media and word of mouth, but according to Williams-Barker, the “power of community is really what drives it forward.”
“We as a generation share enough values that together we can sway this country in a better direction. We cannot sit idle while we hold less rights than our grandmothers, who fought for us to be here…The past is not in our rear view mirror, it is here and it is now, and we need to push for that to change” Williams-Barker said.
Many of the protesters stressed the importance of voting during the protests. Multiple registers were present at protests, with one on Sunday, June 26 from the Ohio Democratic Party.
However, opinions on how much voting can impact abortion rights varies among pro-choice protesters.
“I don’t feel the need to push voting heavily because we have been shown that democrats will fail us. I feel the frustration, but it is also important for us to get a pro-choice governor in Ohio” Schultz said.
The protest received generally positive reinforcement with honks and cheering from passing cars in the intersection, with only one altercation between a passenger and protester when a passenger began shouting at a protester and attempted to forcefully grab their sign.
Both protests organized by Williams-Barker and Schultz in late June and July had volunteers carrying snacks and water coolers for protesters during the events. Bowling Green’s Easy Street Cafe and Everyday People Cafe opened their doors for protesters to cool off, have a free bathroom and a glass of water.
Williams-Barker and other activists as part of the group called Challenge the Corrupt have continued on with their activist work in other ways in the Bowling Green community, with programs such as a School Supply Drive in the Bowling Green City Park on August 20, for students in need.