San Francisco Speak-Out in Honor of International Women's Day
On Saturday, March 5, WORD San Francisco held a speak out at 24th and Mission Streets to celebrate International Women’s Day. Organizers and supporters stood in the rain to spread the word about the struggles women have been involved in historically, as well as the fights we are still engaged in to demand full equality. The event included not just speakers, but also a drumming batucada (feminist noise) and a musical performance by activist/artist Vixen Noir.
While some sexist passers-by paused to harass the speakers and participants, many more stopped to support what was being said. High school WORD organizer Ruby Elson spoke against the idea that as women we are obligated to respond to any man with pleasantries. “I’m 17, and in my high school I know many people who have been sexually assaulted…We don’t owe anyone anything. Not a smile, not a giggle, not our time.” Others decried the attacks on abortion access, discrimination in the work place, racism and the effects from gentrification. Tribute was paid to Berta Cáceres, the indigenous environmental organizer from Honduras who was murdered in her home two days before the event.
The connection was also made repeatedly that this is a struggle that men need to start understanding. Sexism does damage to all genders, and as long as it survives, it keeps us divided. As Lulu Reboyoso, of El Colectivo por Justicia en Mexico, said, “It’s not a fight against them. It’s a fight against a system.” Frank Lara, a Mission District teacher and ANSWER organizer, added on to that. “Men, instead of trying to be helpful, we’re often an additional weight,” he said. “It’s the women who have fought and struggled…the men need to get with the program.”
The event concluded with a call of resistance against to those who try to deny women rights by WORD organizer, Claire Schlecht. “Maybe they mean that we are asking for something that we don’t deserve. I think they’re wrong.” Participants wrapped up chanting: “Se ve! Se eschucha! Mujeres en la lucha! They say “get back”, we say “FIGHT BACK!”
International Women's Day: List of events
On International Women’s Day and throughout the month, WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) will be organizing and supporting rallies, marches, speak-outs, forums, workshops and panels to “Say no to the status quo—full equality for all women!” Join us in cities across the country Tuesday, March 8 - Saturday, March 12, 2016.