Updated: Sep 14, 2022
For many Americans, the fourth of July is a day spent celebrating freedom with family and friends. Despite the usual buzz of festivities, the people of Fort Collins knew that this fourth of July was different.
When Roe v. Wade was officially overturned on June 24, 2022, many were terrified that their rights were being taken away. This act by the Supreme Court caused fear and anxiety across America- but it also inspired citizens to fight for freedom. What better way to spend Independence Day than fighting for Independence?
The protest that took place in Fort Collins on July 4th, 2022 was organized by local non-profits and regular citizens. Around 4:00pm, citizens gathered at the CSU oval. There, the nonprofit organization FCCAN(Fort Collins Community Action Network) handed out water, snacks, and pride flags while taking names and emails of anyone who wanted to volunteer.
In the heat of the July sun, dozens of people gathered, waiting for the march to start. While many stood in line waiting to write down their emails, I heard the sound of a megaphone kicking on and causing feedback.
“Can you all hear me?”
The crowd turned toward the voice. A young man stood in the middle of the Oval holding a megaphone.
‘We can hear you!’ someone shouted. The young man smiled.
“Hi, thank you all for coming! I didn’t know if this protest would actually happen- it started as a couple of texts between me and a few college friends,” he explained. “I’m supposed to say something to start this off, but I think you all know why we’re here today.”
As he started speaking about the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned, a considerable crowd began to gather.
Several others spoke at the Oval before the march started.
“Yes, we are lucky to live in a place where abortion is protected,” one woman said, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight. In fact, we should be fighting even harder for the rights of those who are less fortunate than us.”
After organizers and protest-goers had spoken, the mass of people took to the street. Cries of ‘My Body, My Choice, Their Body, Their Choice, Your Body, Your Choice’ were heard throughout Fort Collins as protesters marched from the CSU Oval into Old Town Square. The procession stopped all traffic on College with its size.
With over a thousand people gathered in the square, onlookers and protesters were invited to share their stories from the mini amphitheater that sits at the eastern end of the square. FCCAN once again handed out water bottles and snacks as we listened to people of all identities share stories and reasons why they attended the march.
Dozens of people spoke that day. Stories from those who had been directly affected by abortion laws and from those who hadn’t rang across the square. People shared resources, information, emails and phone numbers with each other. There were tears of conviction and fear and inspiration.
Walking back to the Oval, the crowd began to diminish. Though about half the protesters didn’t make the walk back, there were still several hundred people marching.
Back at the Oval, there was another invitation to speak.
“Today proves that we are not going to stop fighting. Together we can make a difference. Stay angry. Thank you all for marching with me,” someone said with conviction.
After such a large and pertinent protest, you would think that there would be press coverage.
However, after this march, at which over a thousand people were present, there were no local news sources that covered the event. There were simply no mentions of an abortion rights protest that happened on July 4th, 2022.
Whether there was intentional censorship of the event, or simply no one willing to write about it, it means that many people of Fort Collins and elsewhere may never know about the protest. The only proof of it exists in Instagram posts and a few people’s camera rolls.
The future of Fort Collins’ activism is uncertain at this point, but there is one thing that’s for sure- without reports or news coverage, events like this will remain singular and contained.
You can find information about FCCAN on their Instagram page, @fccan or on their website.
Edeker Merritt is a junior at Poudre High School, and is in her first year writing for Poudre Press. She runs Cacophony, a blog centered around Fort Collins culture and politics.