California anti-vaxxers compare themselves to civil rights activists, sing 'We Shall Overcome' at Senate sit-in protest
Anti-vaxxers in California protesting against the mandated vaccination in the state are comparing themselves to civil rights activists, reports state. A group of anti-vaxxer women reportedly sang "We Shall Overcome," the 1960s civil rights movement's anthem, on Tuesday during a recent sit-in at the California State Capitol, Politico reported.
The demonstrators, while rallying outside California Governor Gavin Newsom's office, walked up and down the corridors, chanting: "No segregation, no discrimination, yes on education for all!"
Several of the women were reportedly wearing shirts with "Freedom Keepers" written on them. The women were reportedly part of hundreds of anti-vaccination protesters who occupied the capitol in Sacramento this month in an attempt to protest legislation cracking down on medical exemptions for childhood immunizations. The protests reportedly resulted in shutting down of both chambers of the state legislature and blocked entrances to the building.
The demonstration appeared to equate their vexation of vaccine requirements for public school kids with that of the decades-long struggle to enforce the constitutional rights of African Americans. The protesters' choice to align their movement with the continuing civil rights issue appalled some legislators.
Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove, while talking to the outlet, said: "This is a misappropriation of a movement that really is not over and proves to be challenging to overcome. The whole conversation around vaccinations is actually one about privilege and opportunity. It’s a personal choice."
"It’s a luxury to be able to have a conversation about medical exemptions and about whether or not you think your child should be vaccinated," she said.
The protests led to the arrest of at least six ant-vaxxers, including one woman who allegedly threw a cup of menstrual blood at six state senators.
Senator Richard Pan, who authored the two vaccination requirement bills being protested, said: "This incident was incited by the violent rhetoric perpetuated by leaders of the anti-vaxx movement." The measures in Pan's bills are meant to reduce the number of dubious medical exemptions parents currently use in an attempt to avoid vaccinating their children before enrolling them in public schools.