Benicia residents gather in large numbers, hear powerful speeches, lift great signs, march to Benicia State Capitol
Benicia Independent, by Roger Straw, May 15, 2022
When we heard about the Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would gut women’s right to choose, we knew that a fierce opposition would erupt all over the nation.
Few dared to hope that Nikki’s email calling for a protest would blossom 250-strong on the Benicia Green and march up First Street, showing incisive and demanding signs, chanting and posing for a historic photo at the old State Capitol.
But that’s how it was on Saturday at the Bans Off My Body rally right here in our small town, our beloved Benicia.
Inspired and organized by Benicia artist Nikki Basch Davis and Benicia resident Cathy Bennett (who brilliantly MC’d the event), the lineup of speakers was impressive:
- Former Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson
- California Assembly Member Lori Wilson
- Candidate for Solano County District Attorney Sharon Henry (currently Chief Deputy District Attorney)
- Benicia Mayor Steve Young
- Benicia City Councilmember Christina Strawbridge
- Maggie Kolk, Benicia-Solano Community Activist
- Ana Petero, Fairfield-Solano Unified School District Governing Board, professor at Solano Community College, member on the Solano Commission for Women and Girls
- Dana Dean, Benicia attorney, Trustee on the Solano County Board of Education
- Terry Scott, Director, Benicia Community Foundation, Chair of Benicia Arts and Culture Commission
- Mary Susan Gast, Benicia Poet Laureate
- Carol Patterson, President, League of Women Voters of Solano County
- Kari Birdseye, Chair of Benicia Planning Commission and Candidate for Benicia City Council
Benicia videographer Constance Beutel filmed the event, and put together a 5-minute video of Highlight Clips:
Dr. Beutel also published a 52-minute version with near full-length coverage of the speakers’ remarks:
In my politically diverse extended family, and among friends and neighbors I know across the spectrum, it is and will remain a woman’s right to choose whether and when to start or expand a family, whether and when to conceive, carry, and give birth. Men of good will support this right.
A government that by legal fiat imposes forced maternity interferes with a woman’s freedom, and in so doing, interferes with all of our freedoms. We stand ready to support freedom of choice no matter the dictates of a supposedly “supreme” council of judges.