International Working Women’s Day Coalition marked the organization’s anniversary with a massive demonstration in Union Square Park Wednesday, August 26, showcasing women’s resistance from 1908 to the present.
Women have been speaking out against the injustices of society since 1850, when Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech at the first National Women’s Rights Convention. Today’s women state that they must remain vigilant as they seek to combat some of these same injustices against African-Americans, Latinos, Indigenous people and immigrants. The rally was attended by representatives from organizations throughout the U.S., Palestine, Philippines, Mexico and Puerto Rico and beyond. Speakers addressed topics ranging from union jobs with equal pay, to quality and affordable housing, health care, education, police brutality, mass incarceration and more.
City Council Member Inez Barron told the crowd that it was imperative for them to continue to educate, agitate and organize. She said that they cannot limit their knowledge to what they get from local news or remain silent and become complacent if they want change.
Wherever there are struggles, women are in the lead organizing ceaselessly. Both young and old spoke out. Angelica Lara, a 24-year-old Mexican-American student majoring in political science at John Jay College, was passionate and persuasive in her remarks to the crowd. She delivered a sharp response to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s negative remarks about Mexicans. “Forty-three Mexican students disappeared over 11 months. We matter. I’m tired. Mexicans don’t have civil rights in Mexico. It’s time to listen to our suffering. I am not a criminal. There are many like me. I am here to show you what we are capable of,” she said.
Some organizers, such as Monica Moorhead and Brenda Stokely, noted that it was the 95th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote and that it is still necessary to speak out about the struggles and issues affecting oppressed people around the world.