Over the weekend, Independent Women’s Forum, in partnership with Independent Women’s Voice, planned an event to give voice to all the women who aren’t represented by the Women’s March. We talked to the property authorities to make sure we were following the rules so that we could lawfully gather outside of the Supreme Court. We showed up early on Saturday morning to set up a stage and podium, and set up materials, including face masks, buttons, signs, hand sanitizers, and social distancing spots to guide people to stay safe during the event. We lined up an impressive group of women to share their different perspectives.
We knew other groups were also planning to gather in front of the Supreme Court, with a variety of perspectives and in support of different causes. We’d been informed that the space was first-come-first-serve but were told we needed to be respectful of others. So we showed up early to claim a good space, but were also prepared to make room for others.
When our event kicked off at 1 p.m., it started out smoothly. Tammy Bruce was emceeing the event and she made note of the other groups around us, including the Black Lives Matter crowd that had begun to gather. She noted that we may not agree on everything, but also probably did have some common ground.
The Black Lives Matter crowd began playing music, a man with a mic led chants, and it got louder and louder. That was frustrating — it seemed that their intention was to drown us out — but we kept going in spite of the noise.
During remarks from Hollywood actress Kristy Swanson, who has lost work because she dared to be an independent woman who speaks and thinks for herself, the man at the BLM rally with the mic said, “That wasn’t loud enough, she didn’t stop talking.” As our event was nearing the end, participants in the Women’s March and BLM descended on our space. They were not interested in respecting the rights of those already there. They crowded into where we had gathered, aggressively confronted those there in support of our cause, and displayed signs and swag, a sad proportion of which were profane and vulgar. Displaying such signs and images is their constitutional right, but it was certainly unwelcomed, especially by those who had brought children to the event.
Our speakers tried to carry on, but we realized it was useless. As our last speaker wrapped up, a member of the Women’s March pushed her way onto our stage. Others pushed to the front where we had gathered, many yelling curses at our staff. The whole concept of “social distancing,” which we had worked to respect since we have some higher-risk colleagues who had wanted to attend, was thrown out the