The morning’s scheduled events in downtown Bloomington on July 4 included a performance by the community band, the rededication of the Alexander Memorial on the southeast corner of the courthouse, and a parade—which headed south on College Avenue, then back up Walnut Street.
Not a part of the program was a protest against a recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that overturned Roe v. Wade. The earlier 1973 decision had found that access to an abortion was a constitutional right.
When the rededication ceremony started, demonstrators filed past the southeast corner and headed one block west, to the southwest corner of the square. The B Square counted about 150 protesters, who gathered at the intersection of Kirkwood and College avenues, on the south side of Kirkwood.
Chants and speeches through a megaphone from the protesters could be heard at the Alexander Memorial dedication. But the sound system amplified remarks from speakers enough to make them heard on that corner of the square. At the protester’s corner, the dedication ceremony was audible, but was drowned out by the megaphone.
At mid-block, the message from both corners was a bit muddled.
The idea that a protest and rededication ceremony would take place on opposite ends of the same block, was described by one bystander as “quintessentially Bloomington.”
The protest was organized by Students for a New Green World, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Key grievances of the protesters went beyond the overturning of Roe v. Wade, including what they said was a lack of action by the Democratic Party to codify that precedent as federal law, when they had the chance in the early years of Obama’s presidency.
They also called for the removal of Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant—a Democrat who is running unopposed for reelection this year. Their opposition to Oliphant is based on her recent statement to Indiana Public Media saying she would not issue a general refusal to prosecute violations of restrictions on abortions—which the Indiana General Assembly is expected to pass at a special session that is now set for July 25.
An Indiana Public Media article reported that Oliphant said that she cannot legally or ethically proclaim a blanket refusal to prosecute a particular crime.
Oliphant’s office is located in the Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center at the corner of 7th Street and College Avenue. That’s where the protesters headed, where they filled the steps to the justice center. They left an open letter for Oliphant that said, [W]e demand your guarantee that you will not act as Monroe County’s enforcer
of whichever draconian anti-choice laws pass the General Assembly.”
The parade started from 10th Street and College Avenue. As it neared the justice building, protesters slotted in behind the police car that was leading the parade. They marched the parade route south to Kirkwood, turned left past the reviewing stand, and then headed north on Walnut.
The head of the official parade paused at the reviewing stand long enough to let a three-block gap open up between protestors and the parade. Protesters then looped around to the justice center building.
The parade featured some familiar entries, like BEANPOLE The God of Pointless Behavior, and Boy Scout Troop 100. Those are the scouts that carry a big American flag down the street by holding it along each edge.
Plenty of politicians marched or rode in the parade—some who are running for election and others who were there just to support their party.
July 4 ceremonies on the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington were preceded early Monday morning by a visit from a red-tailed hawk.
The raptor perched atop the county courthouse on the famous fish-shaped weathervane for at least a half hour, a span that covered most of the Bloomington community band’s warmup.
Parade photos below are not exhaustive of all the people or entries. [Click on any photo to see a larger version, then navigate through the rest of the big versions slideshow style.]
Bloomington July 4, 2022 parade
Bloomington July 4, 2022 reproductive rights protest
Bloomington July 4, 2022 hawk on roof of courthouse