No Hero Will Save Us: Collective Action Wins Abortion Rights

No Hero Will Save Us: Collective Action Wins Abortion Rights

This speech was originally delivered on May 7th at the We Won’t Go Back: Rally For Abortion Rights.


Last Sunday, On May Day, I visited the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Park to honor those lost in the Haymarket Massacre, many of whom are heroes of mine.

But while I looked at their graves, I remembered how remarkably regular all of these people were. They were seamstresses, journalists, carpenters. They were not magnificently empowered congresspeople or charitable millionaires. They were us.



And this is a truth that’s often stolen from us. We aren’t supposed to believe that we can win our liberation with our own hands, we are taught to believe only some very special person who is an excellent speaker, someone born into the role of a hero or political martyr can save us. And that we then have to just vote for these special people or follow them while they work their magic. And then we wait and wait and wait and wait. And now we’re here.

Thankfully everyone here has a power greater than any mythical hero ever could — collective action. It’s that same power that so recently won the right to an abortion in Mexico, Argentina, and Ireland. We must bring as many of our siblings in struggle together — in the streets, in the workplace, in our communities — and push back hard against the shit this government thinks they get to pull. Sign up with one of the organizations here today. Talk to your neighbors about flyering. Agitate for your union to speak out against the Supreme Court. Help build the momentum for the next actions to come. Because the right to free, accessible abortion affects each and every one of us. There is not a right we have that isn’t eroded when our bodily autonomy is eroded.

Across from the Martyrs Monument is a marble bench. It reads “Sit and hear the voices for peace, justice, and freedom.” While you’re here today, I want you to take just a moment to pause and do just that. Pause, listen, and remember: the people who will win this are here. We must do the work of liberation together, always.