Motivated by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats will rally at Harrison and Arnold over the next two days.
• A picnic-style family event is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Wake Robin Pavilion in Harrison Hills Park.
• A “Vote for our Rights” rally is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. Friday at Arnold Fireman Park on Riverside Drive near 18th Street.
Among those expected at the Harrison event are State Senator Lindsey Williams; Tracy Baton, director of the Women’s March of Pittsburgh; Mandy Steele, Democratic candidate for the State House 33rd District; and Democratic congressional candidate Chris Deluzio.
Autumn Monaghan of Harrison is a board member of Women’s March Pittsburgh and chair of the Harrison Democratic Committee. She will speak at Arnold’s rally. Monaghan said organizers will encourage people to support and vote for candidates who support abortion rights and the right to choose.
“I’ve been doing this work in this area in the Upper Allegheny Valley for a long time,” Monaghan said. “I’ve never had so many people contact me with just questions about what we can do, how can we help, what are we doing to stop all of these things from happening.”
The June 24 Supreme Court ruling removing constitutional abortion protections energized people, she said.
“It’s terrifying for people. People are really starting to wake up and pay attention to these issues,” Monaghan said. “People are terrified for many different reasons – same-sex marriage, contraception. They are afraid because they have the impression that there is no more established law. If you can overthrow Roe v. Wade, overturning established law is not what it is anymore.
The Harrison Gathering
The Harrison event is considered family-friendly to appeal to all ages to the message, she said.
The organizers will grill hot dogs and participants are asked to bring a platter to share. There will be face painting, games and story time.
Monaghan said PA Dems will be on hand to share with people how to help organize their efforts through phone banks, postcards and canvassing. For people who aren’t comfortable going out into the community, there are lessons on how to connect with potential voters on Zoom.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since that day,” Monaghan said. “They message me on Facebook; they find me everywhere asking me how to help.
“It’s about more than abortion. Nothing is established in law. People never thought we’d be here again, and women just aren’t okay with that.
In an effort to rebuild the region’s Democratic stronghold, Monaghan said the Highland Democrats plan to hold a rally every month. The group is a joint effort of voters in Harrison, Brackenridge and Tarentum.
Steele, who is running for the State House 33rd District seat, said the message that “abortion is health care” couldn’t be simpler or more meaningful.
“Legislators have no place in our decisions about our own bodies,” Steele said. “It is clear to me that the freedom to decide if and when to have children is fundamental to ensuring that women are equal participants in our society.”
The Arnold event
In addition to Monaghan, Michelle McFall, Democratic chairwoman for Westmoreland County, will speak to Arnold, said Arnold’s Democratic committee member Melissa Charlton.
“The rally will focus on legislative opportunities to energize, organize and engage ahead of Pennsylvania’s midterm elections,” Charlton said. “We will talk about our women’s rights that we no longer have.”
Charlton called the court’s decision “horrific”.
“My animals have more rights than me right now,” she said. “And the girls who are coming? They have nothing either. It’s a shame that it’s taken away from us after 50 years.
Charlton said they will want to register people to vote. Although Arnold leans Democrat, she said only 17% of the city’s residents are registered.
“We think if we do some of these rallies, hopefully we can get people to support us and do the right thing,” she said. “I hope a lot of people will sign up to register and do something to help the state be ‘blue’ (controlled by Democrats) and stop the madness.”