Black Organizers Lead Mass Rally Outside Jackson County Courthouse Following Roe V. Wade Leak

KANSAS CITY, MO – On May 3, over two hundred Kansas Citians gathered outside of Jackson County Courthouse to protest against the recently leaked draft opinion by the United States Supreme Court – which strongly indicated that the decades-long Roe v. Wade’s decision will be overturned.

Organized by the Reale Justice Network – a group of Kansas City-based Black women, trans and non-binary community organizers – the Rally’s purpose was two–fold: to protest the Supreme Court’s impending deprival of human rights, and to center low-income, communities of color who will be impacted most by this action.

Missouri is at an extreme risk should Roe V. Wade be overturned due to a “trigger law” that was passed by The General Assembly back in 2019 (in hopes that, one day, the 1973 decision would be retracted). Called the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act”, the law would ban abortions at conception and would only be performed in risk of the parent dying – eliminating any hopes for rape survivors. 

It comes as no surprise that legislation like this would be passed during Trump’s reign – it only took the GOP playing the “long game” until the Supreme Court was in prime position to follow-through with a reversal.

With Missouri among 13 other states that have “trigger bans” in place should Roe v. Wade be overturned, organizers are begging the question “why vote?” as discourse erupts around what actions need to be taken to protect basic freedoms inside a broken system.

Rallyers at the Jackson County Courthouse took turns grabbing hold of Justice Gatson’s (Lead Organizer of Reale Justice Network) megaphone to tell their own stories of abortion, read poems, lead chants, and plug ways to get tapped in.

To close, the Network had its members give powerful speeches encouraging audiences to center Black and Brown voices throughout this fight, and offered ways people can continue to support reproductive justice and the Network overall (listed below this article).

Interviews with the Reale Justice Network

As part of this piece, Kansas City Defender spoke with organizers from the Reale Justice Network, Ashanti (she/her/hers) and Imijie (x/x/x), to better understand the context of this protest and explore how white Kansas Citians can support Black folk during this time.

The Defender also spoke with Founder and Lead Organizer of Reale Justice Network, Justice Gatson, who sent the following statement:

We saw the writing on the wall for this years ago. Supreme Court nominee after nominee lied about their intentions to overturn Roe V. Wade. We have seen state legislators across the country attack a person’s right to choose including here in Missouri with the passage of a cascading bans bill.

We have resisted these bands on our bodies. In October, we took it to the streets and shut down the Plaza for abortion justice. Now we are here, defending our constitutional right to abortion. But let’s be absolutely clear about who this will really impact.

The most marginalized groups among us will suffer. Black women, our LBGTQ siblings, Trans masculine and non-binary people will be pushed off of the margins that they are already desperately clinging too. Abortion access is not just a human right it is the law of the land and must be upheld.

How you can help

Donate to The Reale Justice Network: Black organizations are severely underfunded. RJN’s number-one ask is funding in order to continue hosting rallies and actions around reproductive justice and beyond.You can donate to them through their Venmo (@justice-gaston).

Vote “No” on August 2nd’s Ballot Vote: For Kansas Residents, the “Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment” will offer a chance to supersede the State’s right to make decisions on abortions. By voting “No,” the State’s constitution would be unsubject to change and the right to an abortion would remain.

Follow The Real Justice Network on social media for upcoming events: RJN is poised to host several more events in the coming weeks to continue combating the Supreme Court’s looming decision. Organizers are asking that audiences follow them on Instagram (@reale_justice_network) to stay updated.

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