Abortion rights conversation ramps up at skate parks
Skateboarding has always been more than a sport. Popular across the country since the 1950s, the activity remains synonymous with youth culture and community.
Yet one network of skaters is bringing people together around skating in a specific, topical way: to discuss the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Lady Rippers serves as a safe space for women, people of color, and people in the LGBT community to share their feelings about ways politics and legal decisions impact marginalized populations.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Lady Rippers co-founders Genie Pacheco and Abiey Jenkins noticed members needed a place to share their concerns and plan for an uncertain future.
“Basically, we host events,” Jenkins said. “We just want people to have a safe, supportive environment to go to. Most people don’t have that, especially in the skate community.”
The Rippers hold meetups to skate in places like New York City and Indianapolis. In July, they planned an event for Atlanta members to talk about abortion and gathered at a trusted community spot: Village Skatepark in Bankhead.
As the Atlanta skaters worked on their boards and skills, conversation bubbled:
“I came to this event purely to talk about abortion and to see what’s going on, what’s the temperature in the room, you know?” skater Mari Meneses Pimentel said. “How do you know if you've found the correct network that is going to help the most marginalized and the most affected by this decision? Think about the Black maternal death rate."
The Rippers hope to organize around abortion rights and make the skate park a place process to air frustrations on ramps or in conversation.
Skater Cate Levy summed up the group's impetus: "This is a space where we want to show up for you guys and be there for you," she said.