Luminaries of the Nevada civil rights, social justice, and political establishments gathered under the bright sun blanketing the Las Vegas valley on Saturday, October 2nd to convene for rallies extolling the most basic virtue, that of every woman to control their own destiny. Full agency over reproductive decisions, access to equal pay and career choices, along with the basic understanding that women’s rights are human rights were among the many topics the speakers and crowds advocated for during the day. These independent females, along with the men and non-binary activists who joined them, carried on the long tradition of publicly casting aside subjugation inflicted on them through antiquated minority rule in order to demand their voices, and positions, be heard and respected in every way.
Strength, courage, foresight, and wisdom are all necessary attributes required to ultimately break the binding nature of the permanent, and thus far unyielding, patriarchal tyranny affecting the lives of so many regardless of their gender identity or chromosomal structure. Around the nation each person who took part in this forceful and necessary action, whether in large group activities, through smaller efforts or even in solitude, displayed those traits. While many heroes must be credited, the efforts of three of these brave humans will be explored further.
In Henderson Nichole Beer, an unfiltered powerhouse of kinetic energy, whose multitasking titles include mother, partner, educator, labor union advocate, free speech activist, and political candidate, hosted an event entitled the “Reproductive Rights Rally.” Beer’s event, which received extensive pre-march publicity, came into existence through her own personal history. Thanks to that legal ability to choose, and her own informed decision, to have an earlier fetus aborted, she understood that freedom means living in a world not constrained by arcane law but through thoughtful, deliberate, private actions. Ms. Beer, who is running to represent State Senate District 20 in the Nevada Legislature, equates the earlier sequence of events surrounding her abortion as an extension of the love she has for her child today. In a statement made on the day of the event she led, Ms. Beer was unequivocal about her daughter being the reason she fights for change. A change Beer described as focused on making certain that all can live in a community that values every person in it, along with the environment in which they dwell.
Joining the larger confluence of voices in downtown Las Vegas, was Amy Vilela. As a leading and respected advocate in the national healthcare policy arena, Ms. Vilela, who was also the focus of a renowned campaign documentary, is a friend and trusted confidant to a multitude of influential leaders in Washington D.C. Despite her towering stature among both progressive and independent minded policy makers across the United States, this humble mother and wife, who introduces herself to strangers simply as Amy, leans into her own story of overcoming personal loss to navigate a way forward for other women. Losing an adult daughter due to a heartless and horrific medical decision, one bordering on intentional malfeasance, Amy extols the virtuous position that abortion is healthcare, and that every woman must have the final say over their bodies. She also makes it passionately known that whether a person’s choice involves obstetrics, gynecology, or a simple physical, no barrier to care can exist. As such “Medicare for All” is a key component of her policy platform, a platform that may lead with her serving as the next congress person from Nevada’s First Congressional District. Currently her message is resonating, as she is far exceeding fundraising numbers for a non-incumbent.
Service, policy positions, and platform implementation are all areas that Judith Whitmer understands. Furthemore, thanks to her tireless dedication and excellence in each of those fields, Ms. Whitmer gained a new title in March. At a state conference composed of Democrats from across Nevada, Whitmer handily beat her male opponent for the position of Democratic State Party Chair. Taking a larger percentage of the vote than President Biden managed to get in either Nevada or nationally, the resounding victory earned her the title of Madam Chairperson Whitmer but, in a manner similar to Ms. Vilela’s understated approach, insists on still being referred to by her first name.
Resonating with vast swaths of women throughout both the Sagebrush state, and across every part of the US, Ms. Whitmer’s inspiring win, and the clear mandate from which it came, is bringing forth a near indescribable optimism for proponents of women’s equity, overarching equality, and the rule of law for all. As 2021 rapidly heads toward 2022 and the ever important midterm elections, the Chairperson has been assembling a united Democratic party, one with a common goal of ensuring candidates are elected at every level of government who will make certain that enshrinement of the values mentioned above will make it into law despite the concerted efforts of neo-fascists and their supporters.
Nichole Beer, Amy Vilela, and Judith Whitmer were not alone on October 2nd. Impassioned pleas, exasperated intonements, and strong statements of fact were echoed from every direction on that inspirational Saturday. Speakers at the Las Vegas event included Laura Martin representing Plan Action, Sy Bernabei of Gender Justice, Michelle Maese of the SEIU, and longtime Representative Dina Titus. Also inspiring in their attendance was the ever present President of Nevada Now, Jeri Burton and the dynamic Cecia Alvarado, State Director of Mi Familia Vota Nevada.
With women from Clark County, Nevada comprising a robust roster of powerfully effective voices and personalities, a future filled with the met demands of the present is within reach. Yet, the need to always understand that “The future is the present” can never be forgotten. Fortunately under the gaze of these women’s marchers such an oversight will not occur.