Arkansans gather for 10th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The 10th Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice took place Saturday at the Arkansas State Capitol. 

This comes less than a week after thousands came out for the Arkansas March for Life.

Hundreds of people from all over Arkansas showed up to the steps of the State Capitol on Saturday afternoon advocating for reproductive rights, but the message didn’t stop there. 

“We’re all involved in trying to make a difference,” keynote speaker, former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, said. 

Signs that said “together we fight for all” and “keep abortion legal” were held high, while messages of not staying silent and taking action were shared. 

“The responsibility is on all of us to get loud,” Arkansas Representative Nicole Clowney, said. 

The 10th annual rally, held by the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, covered a wide range of issues related to reproductive rights, like access to healthcare and sex education. 

No matter the topic though, every speaker harped on the importance of getting out to vote or change will not come. 

Camille Richoux, Public Relations Chair for Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said they see voting as the bare minimum of everyone’s civic duty. 

“The only way that bills are passed are by the people we vote in and we need to make sure they’re reflecting our values,” she said. 

These values resonate deep with Simone Cottrell, who traveled from Fayetteville to attend her first rally.

“I find this as kind of a meet and greet party, almost to kind of reaffirm why we’re here,” she said. 

Cottrell said she made the trip to have conversations with people about the difficulties of healthcare access for immigrants and refugees when they move to the United States. 

“They come in here with their own knowledge of what healthcare needs and is, and I think we should really take that into consideration for doctors and nurses to have a broader understanding of cultural norms bedside manner,” she said. 

Supporters from near and far, young and old, came together for one reason and pleaded the voices don’t stop at the steps. 

Cottrell said rallies like these are important to get people motivated of what can be possible if they act on what they believe in. 

“It’s important that we gather together for inspiration. It’s more important that we take that inspiration and put it into action,” she said. 

Richoux said she hopes to see more people get engaged with these issues and find a place in this movement.

RELATED: Thousands gather for Women’s March rallies across the US

RELATED: Arkansans ‘March for Life’ in Little Rock against legalized abortion