Somerville, MA– When the HB 314 bill banning near total abortion was passed into law in the state of Alabama last week, the outrage was palpable. With many polls indicating a majority of voters opposing the measurement, the anger has been one whose effect ripples far beyond Alabama itself. But with few exceptions, public protest has been largely confined to social media. There have been no widespread national calls to boycott. There has been no public censure from companies currently transacting business in the state. Nor have many positive countermeasures been offered from both the public or private sector by means of recompense. Undeniable outrage perhaps, but no tangible solutions proffered.
Lauren Friel is hoping to change that.
Last week, Friel, owner of Rebel Rebel natural wine bar in Somerville’s Bow Market, announced the restaurant's #roseforresistance campaign, which pledges 100 percent of all sales of rosé towards the Yellowhammer Fund, a non-profit advocacy agency providing assistance and funding for Alabama residents seeking safe access and care at any of the state’s three abortion clinics.
“We’re committed to doing whatever we can to help stop forced childbearing in this country,” Friel wrote in an Instagram post the day of the signing. Keep each other accountable. This is our battle as much as it’s Alabama’s, because all of this is just a grab at a Supreme Court date and a conflagration of Roe.”
Within three days, the #roseforresistance campaign had amassed over $1,000. In a little less than a week, the amount had skyrocketed to $18,000, with additional allies from the likes of Coppa, Field and Vine, Charles River Wines and Trina’s Starlite Lounge pledging their support. Friel anticipates surpassing her initial goal of $25,000 by the end of this week.
“...our industry has a real shot at making activism easier, because we can take the edge off,” she wrote in an editorial for Bon Apétit earlier this week. “It can be hard for folks to get involved with activism. It can be overwhelming, both in knowing where to start and confronting the inequalities within our communities that necessitate activism to begin with. It’s difficult to think about how our neighbors are suffering, and how our privilege might contribute to or enable that suffering.”
“But how often do we consider a woman’s reproductive rights when we preach about her place in this industry? Why aren’t we willing to admit that part of the reason women have trouble accessing capital is that investors consider a uterus a liability?”
Friel’s advocacy for reproductive rights isn’t solely limited to the sale of rosé at Rebel Rebel, which she envisioned from its start as a feminist wine bar. The bar is hosting a Stand with Planned Parenthood bake sale this Memorial Day featuring pastries from Flour’s Joanne Chang and Sofra’s Maura Kilpatrick and a Fundraiser for Abortion Access the following evening, with all proceeds going towards the National Network of Abortion Funds.
“I want discussions about reproductive rights to be common and frequent, and I want our industry to lead them,” Friel concludes her editorial. “Last week I was reminded that I have the power to engage, educate, and embolden. I claim to want diversity and equality, and now the pressure is on. What excuse do I have to continue to stay silent?”
The Stand with Planned Parenthood bake sale is scheduled for Monday, May 27th from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, while the Fundraiser for Abortion Access will take place on Tuesday, May 28th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Rebel Rebel, located at 1 Bow Market Way in Somerville. For more information, visit rebelrebelsomerville.com/. For more information about the #roseforresistance project or to donate, visit http://isenbergprojects.com/roseforresistance/ or www.gofundme.com/roseforresistance
Article image via Instagram / @RebelRebelSomerville