Uniting to "Fight the Right," an estimated 45,000 marchers flocked to San Francisco Sunday (4-14). Organized by the National Organization for Women (NOW), the march was at once a show of support for affirmative action, reproductive freedom, and gay and lesbian rights, and a protest against racism, violence against women, and the war on poor women. Among the speakers were Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and author Gloria Steinem.
Activists came from around the country and joined members of over 500 organizations to the march NOW organizers held in California to draw attention to the anti-affirmative action initiative on the state's November ballot. Steinem said the measure makes it clear that supporters of affirmative action and women's rights need to "get out the vote." NOW president Patricia Ireland cited the 1994 Republican gains in Congress as proof that supporters of the march's causes need to "unify and stand together." NOW estimated that 40,000 people came and went throughout the day.
Another popular speaker at the pre-march rally was Paul Rockwell, founder of "Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action" who said, "There are two kinds of preferences in America. Favoritism for white men of power and socially patriotic preferences for the good of all Americans."
Media Resources: The New York Times - April 15, 1996; The Nando Net and the Associated Press - April 15, 1996
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