This Activist/Bride-To-Be Made A Joke About Her Bachelorette Party — And Her Friends Held Her To It

"When we join in a partnership of marriage, we also promise to remain accountable to the voices who need to be raised up."

Bachelorette parties are treasured experiences. The ritualized send-offs for singledom are celebrated late into the night, accompanied by all cocktails and karaoke necessary to make the stories they create worth (struggling) to remember. 

But when Chicago-based artist and activist Rachel Ellison saw a Facebook post about the upcoming Women's March on Washington, she thought it would be funny to tell her friends that her bachelorette party would be taking place at the January rally. Come with your "friend of the bride" sashes and your comfy tennis shoes.



Ellison with her fiancé Dylan.
Ellison with her fiancé Dylan.

To her surprise, her friends saw the joke and said they would march alongside her. Ellison decided to make the bachelorette party/protest a reality.

"I wrote an email to a bunch of friends who I thought might be interested in joining me, including my dad, my brothers, my young nieces, and anyone else who might like the opportunity to join together and assert our support for women's, POC, and LGBTQ rights and causes," she told A Plus. "I titled it 'Bachelorette for Our Rights.' "

Over 150,000 people have indicated on Facebook that they will be attending the Jan. 21 march, with hundreds of thousands marked as "interested." Social activists-turned-icons Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte will serve as the honorary co-chairs of the event, which will take place in the nation's capital the day after president-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

Organizers of the march say they are trying to send a message, one that will sound familiar but bears repeating: "Women's rights are human rights."

Ellison told A Plus that the Women's March will be her third trip to march on the capital. As a 12-year-old and again in college, she protested the Iraq War with her family in D.C. She's also marched in Chicago: alongside Black Lives Matter protesters, against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and in support of Planned Parenthood

A sign at a women's rights protest that Ellison attended.
A sign at a women's rights protest that Ellison attended.

The decision to dovetail the personal and the political was a natural one for Ellison, an artist who creates both socially engaged performances and art prints like traditional Jewish marriage contracts.

"I like the idea of the bachelorette as a ritual ... The protest is also a ritual of freedom of expression. So when you combine them perhaps the story is something new," Ellison told A Plus. "I think that maybe it says that when we join in a partnership of marriage, we also promise to remain accountable to the voices who need to be raised up."

The bride-to-be says she hopes her story inspires others to contribute to the movement on Jan. 21, regardless of their location or their marital status.

"There are marches like this happening on the same day all across the country, so even if you aren't able to travel to D.C., there are opportunities to take part in regional events," she said. 

Ellison and her fiancé have also committed to a number of volunteer opportunities in the lead up to their July wedding, including helping to settle refugees in the Chicago area.

"It's a way to spend valuable time together since our schedules are pretty crazy. Also feels like a positive foot on which to start our lives together."

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