CODEPINK, NOW hold Valentine’s Day dance party in protest of House Republicans

Hundreds of progressive women — and some men — spent Valentine’s Day afternoon in Washington, D.C. skewering House Republicans for not yet renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get that vote in the House of Representatives, pass the bill, as is, as it was passed in the Senate,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a sponsor of the bill, told Red Alert Politics.

Sponsored by the National Council of Women’s Organization, which includes CODEPINK and the National Organization for Women (NOW), the organizers held an over-the-top ‘protest’ that included a flash mob. DJ Beauty and the Beatz – an 11-year-old DJ who claims she is “the youngest female DJ” in America - spun Beyonce and Lady Gaga, as well as other female artists.

The protest, which was held in D.C.’s K St. corridor, far away from the offices of the Congressmen the women were protesting, was basically a dance party with a few speakers sprinkled in between each set of the “strike, dance, rise” One Billion Rising cause.

Schakowsky (D-Ill.) came across town to stand in solidarity with the women and to condemn people who attack women, literally and figuratively.

“I’m rising because our rights are under attack right here in the United States of America – our rights to abortion services, to contraception, our right to equal pay, our right to retire in dignity and our right to pass VAWA,” she said during one of the rare speeches given between dance grooves.

Rather than speaking out in support of the VAWA, most of the sponsor organizations’ designated speakers spent their time attacking House Republicans.

“I think it’s shameful that House Republicans are blocking this kind of a bill,” said, Alli McCracken, CODEPINK’s D.C. coordinator. “It shows how out-of-touch they are with, you know, the times, really… I think it’s really pathetic that House Republicans are incapable of passing this bill and hopefully they will reconsider or we will ultimately vote them out.”

The rally comes two days after President Barack Obama’s slap at House Republicans in the State of the Union for not following the Senate’s lead and  passing the legislation. “We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence,” he said. “Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. And I now urge the House to do the same.”

The Senate passed the legislation Tuesday 78-22 with every female member of the Senate voting in favor of the bill. As POLITICO reports, The House has been reluctant to pass the legislation as is because the updated text of the act gives Native American tribes jurisdiction to prosecute non-Native Americans.

“There’s been the introduction of some issues that are not directly related to the situation of domestic abuse on tribal lands,” Cantor said last week. “That’s what we’re trying to get at. We want to protect the women who are subject to abuse on tribal lands. And unfortunately, there are issues that don’t directly bear on that that have come up that have complicated it.”

Cantor’s office reportedly told POLITICO that House Republicans would be proposing their own Violence Against Women Act legislation and addresses these concerns in the near future.

 

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