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Voices from the NYC Women’s Unity Rally: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gloria Steinem & More

Web ExclusiveJanuary 24, 2019
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Women took to the streets across the country and the world Saturday, two years after the historic 2017 Women’s March protesting President Trump’s inauguration. In New York City, Democracy Now! spoke to participants at the Women’s Unity Rally, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Women’s March NYC Director Agunda Okeyo.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Women took to the streets across the country and the world Saturday, two years after the historic 2017 Women’s March protesting President Trump’s inauguration. In New York City, Democracy Now! spoke to participants at the Women’s Unity Rally, one of two separate events held in the city for the Women’s March.

AGUNDA OKEYO: My name is Agunda Okeyo, and I’m the director of Women’s March New York City. And I think the message for Women’s March this year is that we’re not a moment, we’re a movement. So, the reason why we held a rally today was to not only celebrate and have opportunity for people to recognize how much we accomplished in the past year with the record number of women in Congress, the Me Too movement, Time’s Up, other kinds of grassroot mobilizations, but also to understand that we still have work to do.

MICHELLE FOULKES: My name is Michelle Foulkes. This is my daughter Sophia. She’s 17 months, and so I’m here to fight for women’s equality, and I think it’s really important that she sees her mother doing these things, so she can feel empowered and grow into an even more confident woman. I’m also a teacher, and so I want my students to be able to know that I am always actively fighting for women’s rights, so they can also feel empowered to do the same thing.

KIM MEOÑO: My name is Kim Meoño, and I’m from New Jersey. And I’m here to stand up for women of all shapes, sizes, colors, from, you know, women like here to the immigrant women that are being separated from their children at the border, and the really cruel policy of the Trump administration against women in general.

PROTESTERS: Together we can! Together we will! Together we can! Together we will!

COURTNEY MITCHELL: Courtney Mitchell. I’m from Florida. I think the biggest issue is just respect and just so we can walk in a room, especially as a woman of color. I have to work twice as hard. I’m a woman of color, and I’m a woman. So, just respect. That’s all that we want, and that’s all that we are trying to strive for. I think that’s the biggest issue, until we have respect, until people see us as humans and that we have power. I think that’s the biggest thing. They may be scared of our power. They’re scared of our magic. Because all we say is “black girl magic.” So, that’s the biggest thing, is just respect for women and everybody.

GLORIA STEINEM: My name is Gloria Steinem, and I’m here for this great rally. We aren’t at a point yet where Congress looks like the country, but it’s getting there. It was great to see all the elected Democratic women, in all their diversity, standing in front of the—on the Congress steps. It was very moving and very—and a very big change.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid.

My name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I’m the congresswoman for New York’s 14th District. And I think that to be a woman is to be politicized in America today. And so, really what we need to focus on is the issues that we are here to advance, which is social, economic and racial justice for all people in the United States and abroad.

PROTESTERS: This is what democracy looks like!

MYRIAM MARQUES: My name is Myriam Marques. I belong to Defend Democracy in Brazil collective and also to the network of Brazilian Women Against Fascism in the resistance. Women need to organize themselves, because we achieve a lot in our countries. And all these fascist politicians, if you look well, they have something to say against women, against gender policies, against feminists, against our leaders. Why? Because we threaten the status quo. They know that the day women get real power, they will be in danger, because there would be no fascists in this planet the day that women get power.

PROTESTERS: We are women, the mighty, mighty women!

FIONA GWOZDZ: My name is Fiona Gwozdz. I’m actually visiting from Portland, Oregon. I’m based in Portland, and I came to be part of this intersectional movement. I really believe in the power of women. And we’re harnessing that power to make great change. We have to take the control of our trajectory, because we believe in the future, and we need it to be brighter for all of us.

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