Naperville women’s march features NNHS student speakers


Photo by Grace Aigner

On Friday Oct. 21 in downtown Naperville, North Central College students partnered with the National Organization for Women to hold a march and rally to protest abortion bans and encourage voting in the upcoming mid-term elections on Nov. 8th. 

The event was organized in collaboration with the League of Women Voters, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Naperville area branch of the American Association of University Women and a group of local students. The march began near the intersection of Chicago Ave. and Washington St. and concluded on the Jefferson Lawn on the NCC campus.

Supportive honks and critical comments alike came from cars passing the participants as they made their way to the NCC campus. Holding signs and waving flags, protesters shouted chants such as “What do we want? Abortion rights! When do we want them? Now!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, abortion bans have got to go!” 

Following the march, the rally featured multiple student speakers from NCC, Naperville North High School and Metea Valley High School. Laura Welch, president of the Illinois branch of the NOW, says that the biggest success of the rally was the opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard.

“It is the most important thing to me personally to get the young folks involved in this movement because it’s [them] whose life it’s affecting,” Welch said.

One of the young voices Welch mentioned was Lauren Weaver, an NNHS freshman and member of North’s Feminist Roundtable Club. As one of three Naperville North students who spoke at the rally, Weaver says that she was motivated to speak because it was a chance to share her opinion on matters of abortion rights.

“I don’t have a voice when it comes to being in power, so I think that getting up there and speaking is one of the ways to get your voice out there and sharing with people your own story…it’s just an amazing feeling,” Weaver said.

The speeches addressed topics beyond abortion rights, including access to contraceptives, harassment of women in the workplace and the power of voting. Amna Farooqi, a senior at Metea Valley High School and one of the event’s student organizers, spoke about her perspective on abortion rights as a Muslim woman and the importance of talking about controversial topics like abortion due to their widespread impacts.

“[Abortion rights are] something that impacts so many people across our nation and even within our state, we thankfully have access to safe abortions, but we have to talk about it for the people who do not have access to abortions or reproductive healthcare,” Farooqi said.