On July 5, people responded to a call put out by Women Organized to Resist and Defend to come to the East Haven, Ct. Hobby Lobby in a group of about 20 militant supporters. They came with a message: That the horrible, sexist Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby is an outrage and must be overturned, and that reproductive and all health protections must be in place for all workers regardless of what bosses’ beliefs are. Protesters assembled in front of the giant Hobby Lobby sign next to a busy road.
Holding signs reading “Women’s Rights – Not Corporate “Rights”!” and “We Won’t Go Back – We Will Fight Back!”, the group chanted loudly and was met by approving honks and waves from numerous passing cars. Shoppers pulling out of the parking lot stopped to hear about the Supreme Court decision and what can be done to fight back. One shopper disclosed that she had just been in to Hobby Lobby to return everything she had recently bought there after hearing about the decision.
“Hobby Lobby? Shut it down! The Supreme Court? Shut it down! The whole damn system – shut it down!” was a popular chant with the crowd. Everyone present understood that the Hobby Lobby ruling was not a single bad apple – it was part of a broader, toxic tendency of right-wing attacks on women’s and workers’ rights across the country; a tendency which can only be met with militant fightback against sexism throughout the system.
Maria, a Connecticut woman and worker who attended the rally, said: “I’ve been very angry about this Supreme Court decision. Since 2012, there have been 200 bills to regulate my body and not one about my husband’s.” When asked how she’d like to see the movement build, she said: “More men need to be feminists and get involved… it’s important to not just worry about yourself.”
The action was an even mix of genders, and all those present were equally vocal about the horrific ruling and its implications. IV, a WORD organizer, said: “This is not just an issue of contraception, and it is not just a women’s issue. People don’t just use birth control for contraception. This ruling also has the potential for very dangerous effects in the future — already, in the immediate wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, religious companies have put in requests to be exempt from laws against anti-LGBTQ discrimination. This is setting a precedent that will allow for racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia to be protected for bigoted bosses to come.” When asked what they thought the WORD protest meant for the struggle in the long run, IV said: “When we are here, even in a small group, we are showing our fellow workers and women that there is and always will be a group to stand behind them when they fight back against their bigoted bosses. It is always this type of dedication that starts mass movements.”