The Sea of Pink: FPA’s Day of Action 2013, Albany

First off, I’m going to apologize for the (huge) delay in posting this as this event was about a good 2 weeks ago (1/14/2013). I’m going to channel Justice Sotomayor (will explain in next post) and try to churn this out today.

I always dreamt about being an activist (well I had many, many dreams- many of which that really didn’t come into fruition- but one must start somewhere I suppose) and on that Monday, I was given a chance at trying my hand at lobbying. I wanted to lobby when I first went to Albany with Bloomy’s Political Science class at Adams back in the heyday when I was more idealistic. I had no clue what I wanted to lobby for to be honest back then, I was more enamored with hanging with the politicians. Yeah, if your teenage self tells you that they know what they want to do, they definitely do not know what they want to do.

So that Monday I got up at about 5AM and caught the 6AM train to get to Planned Parenthood’s main office at Bleeker Street (surprisingly was nice and quick, thank you Embark for working so well, caught all my trains) to catch the bus at 7AM. After grabbing my info packet (and some coffee, yes!) I grabbed a nice seat on the bus. Window this time!

Actually that really wasn’t such a great idea.

Or maybe it was that donut I ate (why did I go pink for today? I may have fared better with a Boston Creme). Oh the motion sickness.

3… hours to Albany, part of the time I was looking out of the window, and part of the time I was praying for swift death. Although I had a seatmate, I wasn’t very friendly (and I feel horrible that I wasn’t so talkative) but in retrospect, I think she wouldn’t have enjoyed being vomited on.

We finally arrived, and the cold air was very much appreciated. In retrospect I should’ve taken some pictures of the outside, but we were pressed for time to make the rally so once everyone was out of the bus, we were herded into “The Well”. We were given these very nice pink pashminas (so that’s what one of those were, as Chasing Bono memories flooded through my mind) so we can wear and blend in with our other PP counterparts.

We listened to quite a few legislators, some names I remembered: Lt. Gov Robert Duffy, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Tom DiNapoli (NYS Controller), Speaker Shelly Silver were there. Sen. Stewart-Cousins was exceptionally invigorating (and hilarious), but at 10AM, not even all that coffee could wake me up. That and the lack of seating (hands were full), I could clap like a broken seal. I believe that Sen. Stewart-Cousins summarized this rally at best: that “2013 is the year of the woman” and that the Reproductive Health Act has a good chance of being passed, as Governor Cuomo is a staunch supporter of it (along with a good number of legislators from both the House and Senate).

After what seemed like a lot of clapping and almost-papercuts later, we were corralled onto the steps to take group photos. I guess everyone was ill prepared as well, we were all taking cell phone camera pictures haha. Everyone was jostling for a good spot, but I was more worried about being blocked by someone’s big hair. Actually checking the time, I was very close to my first appointment, where a group of us would meet with legislators to talk about the RHA and to request for additional funding from the State to cover the gap from Title X cuts. Although we didn’t get to chat with any legislators, we did discuss the issues with their staff and they were very receptive.

Some pictures of the rally (I was so ill prepared, so I only used my phone’s camera… sigh, digital zoom):

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Lt. Gov. Duffy

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FPA allies in the Legislature

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CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York, M. Tracey Brooks

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Group picture (courtesy of FPA’s facebook page) of all those who attended

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