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Collection
Title:Women's Action Coalition (Boston, Mass.) records
Dates:1992-1997
Call Number:M60

Historical Note

The Women's Action Coalition goals were to achieve economic parity and representation for women, an end to sexism, homophobia, racism, and violence against women, and recognition of women's rights to health care, child care, housing, and reproductive freedom. The Women's Action Coalition began in New York City on January 28, 1992, when a group of women met in reaction to two events, the Clarence Thomas hearings and the William Kennedy rape case. The Women's Action Coalition chapter in Boston held its first meeting on August 26, 1992. There were approximately thirty other chapters in the United States and Canada, including Western Massachusetts, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Washington D.C., Houston, and Los Angeles. Although united by a common mission statement, each chapter acted on its own issues and defined its own rules.

On September 22, 1992, the Boston Women's Action Coalition took its first direct action at the Bush/Quayle election campaign headquarters. They projected a 28' x 32' image of a raised, handcuffed hand with the quote, "Shut up and sit down," which George Bush had earlier made to a member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners Missing in Southeast Asia. The Boston Women's Action Coalition also gained publicity for two other prominent actions. On February 13, 1993, members protested the manner in which the Brighton Police Department responded to a Women's Action Coalition member's reports of domestic violence. In January 1995, the Boston Women's Action Coalition joined the Lesbian Avengers in protesting Governor Weld's response to the murder of two women who worked at women's health clinics in Brookline. Throughout the four active years of the group's existence, the Boston Women's Action Coalition participated in marches and rallies for pro-choice, lesbian and gay rights, and welfare rights. Members staged counter-presences at anti-abortion protests, the Cambridge Memorial Day parade, and Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade. They also placed artwork, stickers, and posters in public places to raise awareness about issues such as domestic violence, unequal pay for women, and welfare reform measures.

Beginning in 1995, active participation in the Boston Women's Action Coalition declined. The New York chapter stopped meeting in November 1995 due to lack of membership, but the Boston Women's Action Coalition continued to meet until September 28, 1996.