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A Day Without a Woman: Voices of Resistance from New York City’s Women’s Strike Rally

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Women rallied around the world Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day. Here in the United States, it was dubbed “A Day Without a Woman,” as organizers called on women to go on strike. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, the entire school district closed down after 1,700 teachers asked for the day off. In Virginia, the entire public school system of Alexandria also closed after 300 workers requested the day off. Here in New York, thousands rallied outside Trump International Hotel. Speakers included Linda Sarsour, a lead organizer of the historic January 21 Women’s March on Washington. Sarsour was one of 13 activists later arrested for acts of civil disobedience outside Trump Tower. Meanwhile, thousands of people took part in a rally at New York City’s Washington Square Park. We air voices from the rally.

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AMY GOODMAN: Women rallied around the world Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day. Here in the United States, it was dubbed “A Day Without a Woman,” as organizers called on women to go on strike. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, the entire school district closed down after 1,700 teachers asked for the day off. In Virginia, the entire public school system of Alexandria also closed after 300 workers requested the day off. Officials in Alexandria said the school closing was unprecedented.

HELEN LLOYD: For us, this is unprecedented. We’ve never had a case like this where we’ve had so many teachers call out all together in—on one day.

AMY GOODMAN: Some schools also closed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and right here in New York City. Also here, thousands rallied outside Trump International Hotel. Speakers included Linda Sarsour, a lead organizer of the historic January 21st Women’s March on Washington.

LINDA SARSOUR: So I want you to understand that your statement that you’re making today is part of a long history of women who have led us in social justice movements. What makes it different now? Now we have an open sexist, misogynist, anti-women president.

AMY GOODMAN: Linda Sarsour was one of 13 activists later arrested for acts of civil disobedience outside Trump Tower. She was arrested along with three other Women’s March organizers: Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland. Meanwhile, thousands of people took part in a rally at New York City’s Washington Square Park. We turn now to voices from the rally. This is the Black Lives Matter poet Jamara Mychelle Wakefield.

JAMARA MYCHELLE WAKEFIELD: Today—today is for the indigenous women. Today is for the black women. Today is for the Asian women and the Latina women. Today is for the Palestinian women and the Iranian women. Today is for the descendants of slaves. Today is for the colonized women. Today is for the lesbian women. Today is for the queer women. Today is for the bi women. Today is for the women who don’t give a fudge about gender conformity. Today—today—today is for the trans women, for the poor women, for the fat women. Today is for the immigrants and the refugees and the migrant women. Today is for the girls who will become women, the victims of human trafficking women, the women who believe in gods that you do not know women. Today is for the developmentally delayed and the mentally ill women. Today is for the incarcerated women and their families.

ROKSANA MUN: Next up are wonderful people from the New York State Nurses Association, a union of 40,000 members. Please welcome Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez.

JUDY SHERIDAN-GONZALEZ: Do you feel the fire? So, in 1911, flames engulfed the Triangle factory, resulting in the deaths of 146 workers, mostly women, women exploited and murdered by their employers in their unrelenting search for profits. How many bodies does it take for laws to be enacted, and for those of us who bear witness to atrocities to build the movement for social justice? How about now? We need to transform those fires that take lives, to find the fire within us to transform our society, to ignite a fire around us, to wake up folks to the fact that change only happens when we make it happen.

CONSTANCE MALCOLM: My name is Constance Malcolm. First I want to say I’m also an immigrant. I’m from Jamaica. And I’m also a union member. I’m 1199. Some of you might know my case. Some of you, it might be new to. It’s been five years since I’ve been fighting for accountability. Officer Richard Haste broke into my house and murdered my son in front of my 6-year-old child and his grandmother. You know, this system is so corrupt. The officer was actually charged with manslaughter one and two. We was going to court for a whole year, and then the judge decided to throw out the case on a technicality.

HAWA BAH: My name is Hawa Bah. I’m the mother of Mohamed Bah. Mohamed Bah was my son. Is it clearly evident that the NYPD unjustly killed my son in his own home. Mohamed Bah was a Muslim man, immigrant. He loved to practice his prayer. He never committed a crime in his life. The NYPD took his life on September 25th, 2012. They never hold no one accountable.

ROKSANA MUN: Betty Lyons, the president of the American Indian Law Alliance and an indigenous and environmental activist. Please welcome.

BETTY LYONS: Welcome to Hotinonshonni territory. I’m a proud citizen of the Onondaga Nation. And I wanted to say, I don’t know if many of you know that the women’s rights movement started with Hotinonshonni women, and it makes me so proud to say that. We’ve been invisible for far too long, and we’re going to be invisible no more. What’s happening today against Mother Earth is in direct reflection of what’s happening in our society. As we see the pipelines going forward—

CROWD: Boo!

BETTY LYONS: Right? This leads to more sexual violence against our women, as these transient companies come in to our territories and abuse our women. So I’m asking all of you to stand united. This doesn’t just affect me; it affects all of our seven generations yet unborn, that are looking up to us from under the earth and watching every decision that we make. Our girls are watching us. We need to stand up for the rights of Mother Earth.

AMY GOODMAN: Betty Lyons, president of the American Indian Law Alliance, speaking at A Day Without a Woman rally in New York. When we come back, we hear voices from the streets. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: That’s “Hungry Ghost” by Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, performing in our Democracy Now! studio one of her songs on her latest album, The Navigator, released this week. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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