Bringing Roe to Life One Rally at a Time


Posters were created by students and community members for the rally.

Amanda Putter

“My body! My choice! My body! My choice!” chants Anna Kaplan as she prepares to read her speech for the rally. This energy was felt throughout the entire rally on Sunday, October 16. 

Great Neck South Sophomore Alyssa Wong organized a Women’s Rights Rally in Great Neck’s Firefighter Park. The seeds of the idea for a reproductive rights rally began to sprout in June when Roe V. Wade, the supreme court case guaranteeing Americans’ right to abortions, was overturned, but during the ensuing months, the rally transformed into something much more. 

While talking to potential women speakers in preparation for the rally, Alyssa realized the importance of rallying the community to support all women’s issues, such as workplace inequality and the gender wage gap, which she had just come to learn the significance of. Alyssa’s intentions for the rally were, as she said, “to provide an opportunity for students to advocate for themselves and break down barriers.” To accomplish this, four student speakers—Great Neck South seniors Sarah Hao, Vicki Lin, Joy Yang, and Great Neck North senior Anjelica Wu—each highlighted a specific women’s rights issue. 

Sarah Hao spoke about the discrimination she faced while working at a coffee shop. “My short time working at a fast casual restaurant dramatically pivoted my lifelong perspective on women’s rights,” she declared. After almost being lured out of the coffee shop by an older man as she was closing the store, Hao realized women can face discrimination at any time. 

Vicki Lin reflected on the negative impact of double standards on women. She mockingly stated that “a woman needs to be friendly, but not too friendly. Ambitious, but not too ambitious.” Lin spoke about how this attitude impacts women’s professional lives, as women often have to temper their success so they are not scolded for being too ambitious. She asked, “why is ambitious conflated with words like bossy, pushy, and controlling when applied to women?” As a possible solution, Lin suggested we as a society should make a conscious effort to recognize these double standards and do something about them. 

Joy Yang spoke of gender discrimination and its prominence within our country. “Over the past 25 years, the gender pay gap has only shrunk by 8 cents,” she explained to the audience. Yang reminds us that we still have a long way to go towards equality. Equality has not increased as drastically as we think it has between the 20th and 21st century.

From left to right: Student speakers Anjelica Wu, Sarah Hao, Joy Yang, Vicki Lin, and organizer Alyssa Wong.

The final student speaker was Anjelica W, who focused on reproductive rights and recalled a conversation with a family member who has different viewpoints from hers regarding abortion. Wu added that “we need to build bridges” with our fellow community members, “not tear them down.”

Senator Anna Kaplan and Assembly Woman Gina Sillitti also spoke at the rally and congratulated Alyssa on taking initiative to create it. They spoke of the comfort they felt knowing that there are young people out in the community rallying for change. Gina Sillitti even presented Alyssa with a Citation from the New York State Assembly for her efforts. 

Also spotted at the rally were Great Neck South Clubs and non-profit organizations all run by women. Appearances were made from Step by Step Tutoring, Oarpassage, Green Defenders, the Great Neck Female Empowerment Society, Transformation Through Conservative, the Great Neck North Life Club, and the Midnight Run club, which hosted a coat drive and bake sale. Outside appearances were made from the League of Women’s Voters and Reach Out America. The community support was felt throughout the entire event. It was empowering to see so many women in leadership positions representing their clubs and organizations. These clubs gave the greater Great Neck community an understanding of what our town’s future leaders can and will look like.