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March unites issues impacting women

Published Mar 11, 2009 4:06 PM

March 8, NYC.
WW photos: Deirdre Griswold

Hundreds of women, along with male supporters, rallied at Union Square and then marched together on March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day. They called for “a bailout of women and our communities,” not the banks, in the U.S. and worldwide.

Under the theme, “Every issue is a women’s issue,” speakers noted the fight to keep their homes in the face of massive foreclosures and evictions, to stop the attacks and deportation of immigrant workers, to end wars and occupations abroad and the need to strengthen reproductive justice.

Stella D'oro striker Sara Rodriguez.

Brenda Stokely, a leader of the Million Worker March Movement, and Valerie Francisco of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) chaired the rally. Stokely called on everyone to become an organizer: “Ask yourselves, ‘What am I doing?’ You need to be an organizer and build solidarity. The only thing the opposition listens to is a mighty front. They don’t listen to petitions. They don’t listen to lobbying.”

Sara Rodriguez of the striking Stella D’oro workers noted that women are most affected by this six-month-old strike against the cookie company. In addition to eliminating 12 sick days, a week of vacation and six holidays, the company is also cutting hourly pay for table packers, 80 percent being women.

Dima Abisaab
from Al-Awda.
Photo: Roberto Mercado

Representatives of the Women’s International Democratic Federation spoke about the struggle in Latin America and Dima Abisaab from Al-Awda called for an end to the occupation of Palestine.

Other speakers included Christine White, a transit worker from Take Back Our Union; New York State Assemblyperson Inez Barron; health care worker Joyce Chediac, who noted hospital cutbacks that are particularly hurting immigrants; Vickie White, People’s Organization for Progress, who reminded everyone about the domestic violence epidemic; IFCO organizer Alison Bodine, who spoke about the Cuban Five; Katrina survivor Ivy Parker; Bail Out the People organizer Sharon Black; December 12th Movement spokesperson Amadi Ajamu; Julie Fry and Miya Campbell from Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST); Marina Diaz from the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant and Worker Rights; Nieves Ayress of La Peña del Bronx; Suzanne Ross from the New York Free Mumia Coalition, who spoke on women political prisoners; and Christina Hilo of FiRE who described how the 60,000 U.S. troops stationed in the Philippines are harming women and children.

The marchers went to the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire where 146 women workers and girls died in 1911 because the bosses had barricaded the exits to the factory. Along the way the march stopped in front of Bank of America to protest the billions of dollars the government has paid to BofA and other banks.

The march also stopped in front of the Kimmel Center of New York University, which students occupied last month to demand a freeze on tuition hikes and divestment from Israel. After the march, people gathered at the Solidarity Center for a delicious meal cooked by male allies and to listen to additional talks and music.