Women rally, march for justice
Published Mar 31, 2011 9:22 PM
At the Harriet Tubman statue March 26 are
Monica Moorehead and Krystle Cheirs,
co-chairs of the street meetings.
WW photo: Brenda Ryan
The African-American population in Harlem, like so many other working-class
communities, is in the throes of a deepening economic crisis, including massive
unemployment, gentrification, police repression, and cuts in education and
other social services. This crisis, rooted in capitalist greed for profit, has
gripped the entire world — but especially hard-hit are women, who are
considered the poorest of the poor.
It was with this political awareness that the International Working
Women’s Committee organized a march and street meetings on March 26 in
Harlem to show that all issues are women’s issues, and they all must
receive our consideration. Women activists of diverse nationalities and ages
along with male supporters gathered at the Harriet Tubman memorial statue to
hear talks on many issues, including the attacks on immigrant rights, education
and mass transit, along with Haiti, the Japan tsunami and domestic violence.
Women garment workers who lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire on
March 25, 1911, in New York City — the majority of them teenage
immigrants — were paid homage by the speakers.
Chanting, “The Harlems of the world are under attack; what do we do? Act
up, fight back!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for war and
occupation!” the protesters then marched to the U.S. Armed Forces Center
at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, where they held a second street meeting to
connect the wars at home with the wars abroad. Harlem passersby stopped to
listen as activists spoke out against U.S. imperialist intervention in Libya,
Honduras and Puerto Rico as well as the economic draft, homelessness and union
Speakers at both street meetings assailed the anti-poor, anti-worker budgets
spearheaded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on behalf
of Wall Street.
Following the march, an indoor strategy meeting including breakout groups was
held at a Harlem community center to discuss developing a strategy to unite the
Brenda Stokely, a leader of the IWWC, told the press: “Now more than ever
activist women, their communities and organizations must join together to build
the most powerful movement this country has seen. We must encourage and inspire
more women of all ages to raise their voices and take their rightful place in
providing leadership to this movement.”
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