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‘What’s heroic about racism?’ asks abortion-rights activists at a Dillard’s/Heroic Media event

MahurinPointing_Thumb1_662.jpg
MahurinPointing_Thumb1_662.jpg

On Saturday morning, pro-abortion rights activists stood outside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston to protest a fundraiser for anti-abortion-rights media group Heroic Media sponsored by Dillard’s-Memorial City, which loaned some of its fashion for the event.

Bill Lambert, who organized his Facebrook group Pro-Choice Houston to protest the fundraiser, said the goal was to shame Dillard’s for supporting hate speech, referring to one of Heroic Media’s anti-abortion-rights billboard slogans: “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”

Lambert said the group of about 20 held signs reading “I trust black women”; ”Dillard’s: The most dangerous store for women’s rights”; and ”What’s heroic about racism?” and occasionally chanted “Down With Dillard’s.”

Though he said pedestrian traffic around the corner of Louisiana and Polk streets was sparse — and thus there was little interaction between protesters and Heroic Media supporters — Lambert said he was pleased with the turnout, adding that pro-abortion rights grassroots activism is not as prevalent today, despite myriad efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It’s a position Amanda Williams, president of the University of Houston’s Student Feminist Organization, agrees with. Members of the SFO (about 10, according to Williams) teamed up with Pro-Choice Houston to protest the fundraiser. Williams, who is a U of H senior majoring in English literature and minoring in women’s studies, told TAI that she thinks the anti-abortion-rights movement has organized more diligently because theirs is a battle that is harder to win but easier to fight.

“It’s easier to fight against something,” Williams said. “And some people think, ‘Why defend women’s rights? We already have the right to choose.’ But this is a crucial time in the pro-choice movement. They want to reverse Roe v. Wade. … It affects students, it affects young women.”

Protesting Heroic Media, Williams said, was about attacking the common arguments made on the anti-abortion-rights side, one being that abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood target African-Americans, evidenced by large amounts of abortion clinics in African-American communities, according to anti-abortion-rights groups.

‘[An abortion] is one of the biggest decisions of a woman’s life, Williams said. “Do they think women are persuaded by simple placement of a building?”

Both Williams and Lambert appeared on the Houston Indymedia radio station Friday to discuss the protest.

“[Heroic Media] is not putting up billboards about getting prenatal care to uninsured women,” Lambert said, regarding the fundraiser’s aims. “Instead they’re trying to shame women. … Attacking a woman’s right to choose is attacking her dignity.”

“And even if abortion providers were targeting [women] by race, does this organization really think that women need some sort of godly enlightenment, some savior?” Williams said. “I think by now we are all smart enough to recognize racism when we see it. African-American women know their rights and all women have the intelligence to make the right and best decision concerning her own health, her own body, and her own faith. No one is being fooled by these billboards, and I believe it’s completely insulting.”

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