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Women’s rights orgs nationwide petition Dillard’s to withdraw from fundraiser for anti-abortion rights group

MahurinImmigration_Thumb_577.jpg
MahurinImmigration_Thumb_577.jpg

UPDATE: April 7, 10:15 a.m. This article was amended for clarification of the cited petitions and updates their signature counts.

As Texas-based anti-abortion rights media groups Heroic Media and Life Always continue to mount racially-focused anti-abortion billboards in African-American communities around the country (most recently in Chicago), some abortion-rights groups are hoping to stifle efforts by Heroic Media to erect a new billboard in Houston, which is the reason for an upcoming fundraiser to be sponsored by Dillard’s department store.

Leading up to Heroic Media’s fashion-show fundraising event on April 9, when the organization will gather at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston for an event featuring Heroic Media supporters modeling Dillard’s springwear, several women’s rights groups have started petitions asking Dillard’s to withdraw its clothes from the event. The proceeds will go toward funding an advertising campaign in the Houston area, as Heroic Media spokesperson Kimberly Speirs previously told TAI.

Dillard’s corporate headquarters have remained unresponsive to TAI’s inquiries.

Shelby Knox, the director of organizing and women’s rights at Change.org and the subject of The Education of Shelby Knox, the 2005 documentary that chronicles her high school activism for comprehensive sex education in Lubbock, Texas, started a petition two weeks ago directed at Dillard’s corporate executives and Dillard’s Memorial City store manager Stephen Brophy. (Dillard’s Memorial City is the specific store branch that agreed to sponsor the fashion show.)

Thus far, the petition has accrued 2,840* signatures, which include signers from Huntsville, Ala., to Bergamo, Italy.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas has participated in Change.org’s efforts to stop Dillard’s from supporting the event. Sara Cleveland, the executive director of NARAL’s Texas branch, told TAI her organization is encouraging supporters to sign Change.org’s petition and use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to drum up a boycott on Dillard’s merchandise. NARAL’s Texas affiliate recently partnered with Atlanta-based abortion rights advocacy group SisterSong in a campaign to try to bring down Heroic Media’s billboards in Texas.

In turn, Life Always has announced its own efforts to fight NARAL by encouraging donations of $5, $10 and $25, which will be doubled by “a generous friend of Life Always.”

“Our life affirming messages need to be heard so that women facing crisis pregnancies know they have the choice to learn about the life saving resources that are available to them,” the group states on its website (wherein it compares the death toll from the recent earthquake in Japan to the Planned Parenthood’s abortion death toll since March 11).

Other petitions against Dillard’s:

Care2 sponsored by Ms. Magazine**: 18,046 signatures

Care2***: 607 signatures

Other organizations that have voiced voiced their support for a Dillard’s boycott include Paradigm Shift, New York City’s feminist community, and Feministing.com.

(Image by: Matt Mahurin)

***The Change.org petition was previously at 2,635 signatures.

**Previously TAI mis-identified this petition as a Ms. Magazine petition; the petition is a Care2 petition sponsored by Ms. Magazine. The petition was previously at 14,347 signatures.

  • *** This Care2 petition was a secondary petition set up by a citizen activist and was previously at 574 signatures.*

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