New WORD chapter holds first public forum in Albuquerque

The Albuquerque chapter of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) held its first public forum on April 27. The audience was captivated by the half dozen speakers, all of whom were women in the struggle against oppression.

Zelda Gatuskin, a member of the Feminist Caucus of the Humanist Society of New Mexico, spoke energetically about the Equal Rights Amendment. She highlighted the importance of the amendment, stating: "We feel it's terribly necessary to have women's equality in writing as part of the Constitution." Even though many attendees were familiar with the ERA, she was able to bring some much-needed attention to the necessity of fighting for it to pass.

A discussion of the fight for equal rights was continued by Anna Peterpaul, a WORD organizer, who spoke about reproductive rights and made it clear that "the struggle to maintain a woman's legal right to have a safe abortion is ongoing, pervasive and never ending." She focused on the attacks on abortion rights and how capitalism has infringed on women's right to choose.

Danya Mustafa, a young Palestinian woman with Students for Justice in Palestine, assured listeners that "young Palestinian women are at the forefront" struggling for freedom. She helped attendees realize the important roles women play in fighting against occupation.

Bethany Woody, a local WORD coordinator, informed people that "violence taken up against the indigenous female population is an undeniable reality." She talked about the violence indigenous and other women face and how "a lack in communication amongst tribal and non-tribal law enforcement and judicial sectors" has allowed crimes to go unpunished.

These issues and many more were discussed after the presentations, and everyone felt the meeting was a wonderful success. The Albuquerque chapter of WORD plans to continue organizing to take up the myriad of issues facing women and hopes to make WORD a household name.

Woody summed it up perfectly: "The issues that have been discussed are not purely women's issues. They are not purely race issues. They are human issues. We, as the workers of this country have the right and responsibility to fight for real change. Alone we often feel powerless or insignificant, but together we are strong." We must keep the struggle in the streets!