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Tucsonans protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade: 'We are going to keep on fighting'

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Kate Ewing | The Daily Wildcat

Protestors picketing with signs that say various phrases like "abort the Supreme Court" and "my body my choice" outside of the Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse on Friday, June 24, in Tucson, Arizona. The protest was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade earlier that same day. 

Roughly a thousand people gathered outside Tucson's courthouse Friday, June 24, many devastated and fed up, to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

From the University of Arizona’s campus to Congress Street, one Sun Link streetcar slowly filled near capacity at each consecutive stop with people carrying water bottles and signs. 

It was close to 7 p.m., but Tucson Women’s March organizers and other local activist groups urged people on social media to bring plenty of water if they were joining the protest.

The Arizona heat didn’t stop the many people who continued to show up outside the courthouse well after the protest began, chanting “Whose choice? Our Choice.”

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Amy Fitch-Heacock, the founder of Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom and a Tucson Women’s March organizer, said she was worried about how the Supreme Court’s decision could affect her daughters.

“It’s unbelievable … to realize that I have lived 43 years with more rights than they will have,” she said. “Unless we can do something about this.”

Fitch-Heacock said despite the likelihood Arizona will be “a worst-case scenario very soon,” she hopes people won’t give up.

“We are so close. Stay here and vote and fight with us, because we can get this done,” she said. “I think people discount Arizona. They figure we’re the next Florida or Texas, but we’re not. The size of this movement should be evidence enough.”

By 8 p.m., the lively protestors expanded out onto Congress Street, blocking traffic with cheers and more pro-choice chants. 

After cars were left with no other option but to back out from where they came, the crowd marched east towards the freeway before turning around to travel up to Fourth Avenue.

RELATED: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Gary Vella, a member of a local animal rights group called SPEAK Tucson, said he was proud to show up in support of reproductive rights. He was so fired up he decided to just repurpose a few signs he already had.

“I got so pissed off when I heard the news this morning,” Vella said. “I went out and grabbed some of my former animal rights signs … figured I could put them to good use.”

Vella, who’s participated in protests for decades — all the way back to rallies against the Vietnam War — said he was surprised by this night's turnout.

“This is the biggest one I’ve seen in Tucson, and I’ve been here since ‘99,” he said.

Another protestor named Meredith, who requested the exclusion of her last name, said the size of this crowd gave her hope.

“One person can’t do much. But when you start getting people [together] who believe in the fundamental good of all, and who want to stand up for what’s right, that’s where change comes from,” she said. “It’s so important to be out here and not just sit back anymore.”

Vella said in his experience, if people want to help make change, they need to work together and show up as much as they can.

“You can’t give up, even if it takes a long time,” he said.

After the protesters continued marching up and down Fourth Avenue for another 30 minutes, much of the crowd began to disperse. 

Earlier in the evening, Fitch-Heacock said this was just the beginning.

“Our democracy depends on all of us fighting back loudly and without ceasing,” she said. “We are going to keep on fighting because the people who took away our rights today are counting on us being too tired to fight back tomorrow. Fuck that.”


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