This week I had the opportunity to cover the Vagina Monologue Rally at the Capitol. The protest was in support of Michigan State Representatives Barb Byrum and Lisa Brown who were banned from speaking on the floor because they used the words vasectomy and vagina in a debate about abortions and women’s health care.
This controversy spread, facilitated by Facebook and Twitter, to reach even John Stewart who made fun of the ludicrous situation. Monday at five pm, streams of people walked to the front steps decked out in clever tee shirts and poignant signs declaring their anger at the Republicans who banned the representatives. The Capitol was packed, shoulder to shoulder, while men and women stood chanting “VAGINA!” at the urging of The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler who flew in for the occasion.
You could feel the energy buzzing in the air, with every eye you met, you felt an instant connection with the person, like you were silently agreeing, “we are all in this together”. Every shared smile forged bonds between protesters as the environment grew from a social gathering to one more like a family reunion. Everyone was sitting around, laughing and crying together while the performers shared The Vagina Monologues, one of the funniest, most heartbreaking performances I’ve ever seen. There was a cop casually standing against the building, for such an emotionally charged protest, it was incredibly peaceful and he didn’t move the entire time.
I was initially ashamed at my state, my home, for treating its’ women like this but now I feel proud to be from a state where people come out in the thousands to support our women in the House.