March unites issues impacting women
Mar 11, 2009
March 8, NYC.
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
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
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
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
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.