After some DIY sign making and a rigorous march, SlutWalk attendees settled back in Union Square for an enthusiastic and understandably emotional rally. Under a makeshift rooftop of colorful umbrellas, supporters listened to a series of brief, consecutive speeches from passionate activists who addressed issues from the act of rape itself to the interrelated topics of gender identity, police brutality, racial profiling, and unionization for sex workers.
One speaker from the activist group Radical Women encouraged the crowd to “Demand access to contraception, abortion, comprehensive sex education and health care,” and went on to declare, “If you’re called an angry feminist in the process, tell them you have a fucking right to be, but only as long as that anger drives you to change something.” Another popular topic was the existing relationship between transgender identity and sexual violence, and after some powerful words on the stage, speaker Mariah Lopez explained, “There are several more different tiers of possibilities for violations of transgender peoples’ rights…and until every single city agency is in full compliance and it is absolutely not tolerated that a person’s gender identity is their top legal status, then they will continue to be marginalized.”
The rally ended around 3:30 p.m. with organizers giving many thanks to everyone who attended, and asking that the crowd move their enthusiasm down to Occupy Wall Street. The closing words were clear and powerful: “This movement is NOT over; it CANNOT be over. It is not over until no one ever has to experience shame or violence on their body and in their souls.” Activists and attendees are encouraged to rejoin Slutwalk NYC again on October 13th at Walker Stage to evaluate progress and keep the movement going.