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Int’l Working Women’s Month: Activists unite struggles

Published Mar 4, 2009 3:53 PM

March 8, International Women’s Day, is not only an important time to reflect on women’s resistance to all forms of injustice and oppression from the past, but also to help inspire a fightback for the important struggles that lie ahead. And inspiration is needed now more than ever as women bear a significant burden with the deepening capitalist economic crisis. This includes foreclosures and evictions; lack of health care, education and childcare; war and occupation; sexual harassment; attacks on reproductive rights; incarcerations and more. These problems are devastating not only for women, but also for their families and class brothers.

During March, International Working Women’s Month, as activists and a growing sector of the masses gear up for the April 3-4 national march on Wall Street to demand a bailout of the people, not the banks and CEOs, women organizers around the country are taking a big step forward to link the struggles at home with the struggles abroad in meeting halls, on the airwaves and in the streets, to illustrate that every issue is a woman’s issue.

In Atlanta on March 7, the International Action Center, Georgia Detention Watch and Human Rights Atlanta are planning a visit to immigrant women being held at the Gadsen Detention Center in Etowah, Ala. According to leftinalabama.com, there are close to 140 mostly non-English-speaking women from Latin America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Caribbean islands being imprisoned there by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security.

The organizers plan to have women lawyers visit the detainees who have been denied any legal representation. They will bring the women personal hygiene products, get information about their inhumane conditions and circumstances, and express opposition to U.S. immigration policies.

On March 8, the Human Rights Atlanta and WRFG are coordinating a six-hour International Women’s Day radio program on WRFG, the local community radio station in Atlanta, where a wide cross-section of women will be participating. E-mail [email protected] for more information.

In New York City, the International Women’s Day ’09 Coalition will be holding a rally on March 8 at 1 p.m. at Union Square to demand that the government bail out women and their communities. At the rally, a women’s bill of rights will be presented. Participants will be encouraged to sign it and add their own demands as well.

Following the rally, there will be a march throughout the Greenwich Village area that will be led by Palestinian, Filipina, Black, Latina and other women activists. The march will make a stop at the Kimmel Building, part of New York University, one of the largest private universities in the U.S. In February, a two-day sit-in took place at the Kimmel Building led by women students of color, to demand the school’s divestment from Palestine and more local community access to the school’s facilities.

The marchers will also hold a ceremony at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial. It was at this site on March 8, 1911, where more than 140 young, superexploited, immigrant women workers, including girls, tragically lost their lives after the bosses locked the emergency exits when a fire broke out.

Call 212-633-6646 for more information about the New York City International Women’s Day activities.

The Women’s Fightback Network in Boston will be sponsoring a “Women Rise Up Sistah Summit” on March 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Roxbury Community College. The main goals of the summit, according to WFN literature, are to “build a united fightback agenda against racism, sexism, LGBT oppression, budget cuts, layoffs, poverty and war; money for schools, health care, childcare, youth programs and our communities ... jobs and income for all!” Call 617-522-6626 or e-mail [email protected] for more details.

The Detroit branch of Workers World Party will host an International Women’s Day program on March 14 featuring Martha Grevatt, the author of the forthcoming book, “In Our Hands Is Placed a Power: The Flint Sit-Down Strike.”

Grevatt, a 21-year Chrysler worker and executive board member of United Auto Workers Local 122 in Twinsburg, Ohio, is also a founding member and former executive officer of Pride At Work, the AFL-CIO’s LGBT constituency group. Grevatt writes frequently for Workers World newspaper, particularly on labor issues. She will speak on the role of women in the labor struggles of the 1930s.

“With Babies and Banners,” a documentary on women in the 1937 General Motors sit-down strike, will be shown. Other speakers will include Sandra Hines, a leader of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions, and Megan Spencer, a Michigan State University activist and feminist.

The Detroit meeting is being dedicated to the heroic Palestinian women in Gaza, who resisted the recent brutal, U.S.-backed Israeli military attacks. The dinner and video will begin at 5 p.m. and the program at 6 p.m. at 5920 Second Ave. Call 313-831-0750 or e-mail [email protected] for information.

E-mail: [email protected]