NEW YORK ― Women across the country joined the “Day Without A Woman” on Wednesday, a global strike from paid and unpaid labor that took place in more than 50 countries around the world. In the United States, women came together during International Women’s Day from coast to coast to take part in rallies and protests of all sizes, pushing back against gender inequality in its many forms.
At a peaceful rally in New York City’s Washington Square Park late Wednesday afternoon, a crowd of hundreds ― many wearing red or the knit pussy hats that became a symbol of January’s Women’s March ― joined together to demonstrate their support for the strike. Some of the attendees had been striking all day, while others who could not take the day off work were able to join the rally after their work day ended.
Those gathered later marched down to Zuccotti Park, stopping along the way at places like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and the Stonewall Inn, which hold historical significance in the fight for social justice. The late afternoon rally followed a noon gathering in Central Park which ended with the arrest of 13 Women’s March organizers and supporters ― including the four Women’s March co-chairs.
Below, 21 women share the powerful, personal reasons why they showed up in solidarity with their sisters in New York ― and around the world.
Cynthia Sealy, 42
”I’m out here for all kinds of reasons. First of all, my mom passed and if it wasn’t for her, there’d be no me. So I’m representing her. And also I’m representing my wife. She does construction. And I’m representing myself, because I’m a cook. A lot of women, we cook for a living but we don’t get the amount of respect and props that we should deserve.”
Arielle Goldman, 28
“I’m actually not striking. I am working, because I’m taking care of this little one [my friend’s child]. But I’m wearing red in support of the strike and the protest and bringing this little girl to the rally because I think it’s important to all women of all ages to be empowered and to feel like they’re part of a movement.”
Desiree Perez, 67
“I just think it’s really, really important to come out and have strength in numbers, especially when you feel so powerless about everything else that’s happening politically. And I want to say, as a senior citizen, that this is my second round of this, because when I was in college and young, this is how we fought against the Vietnam war, how we supported the initial women’s rights movement, and civil rights. So it’s like the next round of it.”
Elizabeth Tomasetti, 38
“I was very excited that my son was born under Obama and very saddened that four years of his life are going to be under Trump. And I think it’s very important to demonstrate to the next generations coming up that the government is not a representation of this country in a majority.”
Grace Torres, 45, Kaya Torres, 6, Jazmin Torres, 17
”I need to teach them to stand up for themselves as well as our sisters. I think that with the new president, we are going to lose out on a lot of our rights. We already see how misogynistic he is. So I need to teach them that they need to keep fighting, not just for them but for everyone else.”
Jamia Wilson, 36
”I am here because women’s rights are human rights, and I believe that it’s really important for those of us who can to stand for gender justice, for economic justice as well as for racial justice. We are at a really critical point in our history where it’s really important for us to ensure that our values are being upheld.”
Janelle Pitts, 21
”I think with the new administration that’s just taken office, it’s very important to come out and show that we’re here, we’re loud and we have voices that will be heard.”
Jeannie Lee, 50
”I stayed home for 12 years as a mom to raise a special needs child … we diminish it, that role.”
Katherine Boyd, 34
”Reproductive rights are a huge issue for me. I just believe that stripping away Planned Parenthood is the biggest mistake you could possibly make.”
“Well, I’m standing here in solidarity not just with women, but with every oppressed group whose rights are being crushed and disrespected in many ways. And I think it’s highly important because we as women also represent, you know, the majority of the population in the world, and what we do, our work, our efforts, our contributions are never valued and cherished and compensated in the same way as men.”
”[I’m here] mostly for equality of the sexes, and then also for intersectionality within feminism.”
Mary Curren, 36
“[My daughter] is disabled. She was born with a hearing impairment, which we just found out about a few months ago, and my stomach turned when I saw our current president mocking a disabled person. I’m out here for her. I’m out here for all women and all girls. The future is female, you know? And we have to keep fighting for our little ones.”
Morgan Evans, 32 (with her mother and dog, Sandwich)
“I’m striking today because I feel like in this day and age, going about your regular business as usual and going to work and not striking is also a political act.”
Naima Shea, 51
“I came to this country from a country where women are treated like a second class citizen. You can buy women, abuse women, do whatever you want and it’s OK. I escaped here and I found a fabulous country where I was welcomed, and there was prosperity, until this administration where I see they’ve taken us back 50 years or maybe more.”
Rie Ma, 29
”I’m a woman so everything that’s going on is affecting me directly. And there are many, many women who cannot be here, so I thought it was even more important that I be available and put my body out here.”
Tara Dalton, 21
“Women’s rights are under attack right now. And I also [came to the rally because] I conveniently have classes all around this square and was intrigued by the crowd, if I’m being honest.”
Toni Carter, 31, Taylor, 6
“At some point you have to stop and sit there and say, ‘This is wrong. You can’t do this to other people.’ And it’s just not right. This is supposed to be a land of opportunity, freedom and it’s just now, I feel like, we’re in jail now. We can have people come in. We have to watch what we say. You know, it’s ridiculous. I’m here for her. I’m here to say you’re not just going to take this lying down.”
Anke Gruendel, 34
“I work in academia. I’m a PhD student and I can see every day in my classes that men interact very very differently than women. Men have a different type of discourse and are much more present in classes and the class discourse. And while that’s OK, I think it’s also necessary to talk about this difference, and this distinction … I think it’s also important to talk about the ongoing gap in pay. Because we’re not getting paid equally, and we’re not being given the same chances.”
Annabel Sexton, 13
”This woman’s movement is really important to me as a young adult growing up in a world where I want women to be respected. And especially because I’m young I think I can do a lot, and I think it’s important for people my age especially to work towards this cause.”
”I think that Washington was sort of the catalyst for an organized movement, and I think that this is one way to really build solidarity, and continue making and taking action.”
Agunda Okeyo, 34
“I guess the reason why I feel really excited about being here is that I do believe we need a much more intersectional, multi-racial kind of diverse approach to how we’re going to deal with the ongoing administration. So I always like to be in the company of people who I can connect with across cultures, and even across politics sometimes to try and create solutions.”
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Source: HuffPost Black Voices