New Haven Stands with Planned Parenthood for International Women's Day

iwd_2016_CT2.jpgFor the past four months, New Haven’s WORD chapter has been organizing weekly with community activists to counter anti-choice bigots routinely occupying the outside of New Haven’s Planned Parenthood. Members of the coalition decided to coordinate another large community action during the week of International Working Women’s Day to honor the struggle in a way that was unique to the city.

For nearly 10 years, anti-choice aggressors have attempted to vilify Planned Parenthood with misleading and flat out hateful signs, harassing patients in every way possible. The community decided enough was enough, and each week support for the clinic has continued to grow. Neighbors, joggers, other passersby and local folks started to feel a positive difference in their day-to-day atmosphere as a result of the pro-PP crowd, and more people began to attend the weekly initiatives. Larger organized actions quickly became possible, and on the morning of March 12 the second one was held.

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International Women's Day Speak Out in New York City

iwd_2016_nyc_march.jpgOn March 12 a few dozen women gathered in East Harlem, also known as El Barrio, at a community speak-out and rally to commemorate International Women’s day. The composition of the event embodied the meaning of the day: women as the face of revolutionary politics. Organizers from the A.N.S.W.E.R coalition, the Planned Parenthood activist council, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and W.O.R.D. (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) were there in support of the working class women’s holiday and of working women around the world.

Feminism has been distorted by bourgeois figures like Hillary Clinton who use feminism as a pretext to gain voter support. The IWD speak-out called out Clinton as a liberal bourgeois feminist and imperialist war monger who ignores the needs of working class women.

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San Francisco Speak-Out in Honor of International Women's Day

See details of upcoming events taking place across the country March 8th - March 12

iwd_2016_SF.jpgOn 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.

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Celebrating Women's Struggle on International Women's Day

sf_demo_2.jpgInternational Women’s Day or Working Women’s Day was established more than 100 years ago, in 1910, to celebrate the political, economic and social gains of women won through struggle. The date commemorated a march of needle trade workers in New York City, who had marched on March 8, 1908, to demand better working conditions, and who themselves may have been commemorating a march of women garment workers on March 8, 1857, protesting dangerous working conditions. To this day, International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the need for militant fight back in the unfinished struggle for women’s liberation.

We know equality has not been achieved because we see oppression every day in our own lives. Women face challenges in accessing contraception and abortion, and struggling to provide for our families on unequal wages and without guaranteed paid leave; we wonder if the harassment on the street is going to turn into something even worse, and many of us have experienced sexual assault and violence; and all the ways that racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry impact our lives.

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Celebrando la lucha de las mujeres en el Día Internacional de la Mujer

iwd_word.jpgEl Día Internacional de la Mujer, o El Día de Mujeres Trabajadoras, originó hace más de 100 años para celebrar las ganancias políticas, económicas y sociales que las mujeres han logrado a través de luchar. El 8 de marzo de 1909, mujeres de Nueva York tomaron las calles para manifestar en contra de las condiciones peligrosas del trabajo para las trabajadoras textiles. Hasta el díia de hoy, el Díia Internacional de La Mujer sirve como un recordatorio de la necesidad de una remontada militante en la lucha inconclusa por la liberación de las mujeres.

Sabemos que no hemos alcanzado la igualdad porque vemos la opresión en nuestras propias vidas cotidianas.   Las mujeres se enfrentan desafíos en accesar la contracepción o el aborto y en luchar para proveer por nuestras familias con sueldos desiguales y sin beneficios de maternidad; nos preguntamos si el acoso en las calles va a llegar a ser algo peor; podemos ver todas las maneras de cómo raza, sexualidad/identidad de género, y clase pueden duplicar o triplicar nuestra opresión.

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WORD Stands with Palestine

palestine.jpgThe summer of 2014 witnessed one of Israel’s most brutal attacks on Gaza and the Palestinian people as a whole. More than 2,100 people were killed, more than 11,000 injured and 100,000 homes were destroyed. Just a few months ago we saw an escalation of Israeli violence against Palestinians that resulted in more than 30 deaths in only a few weeks. Israel’s one-sided war on the Palestinian people is not the result of an accident. Rather, Israel is engaged in a genocidal war targeting women and children with the goal to eventually ethnically cleanse the entire Palestinian population. Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the occupation forces have consistently targeted homes, families, and neighborhoods.

During the attack on Gaza in 2014, 89 families were completely exterminated; 89 families who simply don’t exist anymore, whose lives and names will no longer be carried on.

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New Haven Stands with Planned Parenthood

CT_Planned_Parenthood_Support_Rally.jpgFor over eight years, right-wing antagonizers have been verbally harassing patients and employees indiscriminately, as well as stalking and grabbing them on their way to the entrance of New Haven’s Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Since the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood nationwide and in Colorado in particular, their convictions have only intensified. At the end of 2015, members of the community decided to fight back. The first rallies to stand with Planned Parenthood were initiated by a family from the faith community who had enough of the disgusting misogyny and intimidation in their neighborhood. A number of progressive and community organizations -- including the New Haven chapter of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) -- joined forces and built with community members and the First Unitarian Universalist Society (FUUS) to help counter these attacks.

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#WeWontGoBack: WORD statement on the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade


January 22, 2016, marks the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.  We take the time to remember what life was like before Roe, and the many thousands of people who fought together to make abortion legal in the United States. It is also a time when many of us look at the attacks and challenges we still face in accessing and preserving this essential right: that women have the right to control their own bodies.

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Make 2016 a Year for Change

sf_demo_2.jpgThinking back about last year, one thing is for certain: 2015 was a year of challenge and struggle. We started the year mourning the death of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide in late December 2014, while struggling to find the way to “fix society.” The year would see an alarmingly high number of murders of transwomen, particularly transwomen of color.

The massacre at a Black church in Charleston by a white supremacist in June was one of many racist attacks: a racism whipped up further by campaign speeches by Donald Trump and other right-wing bigots targeting immigrants, refugees, Mexicans, Muslims and Blacks. Our sisters, and brothers, continue to stand tall and fight against intimidation and terror.

The summer marriage equality ruling by the Supreme Court was a major victory: one made possible by years of struggle. It does not make things perfect, but it is an important gain in enabling couples to access over a thousand federal benefits previously denied to same-sex couples.

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WORD Stands with Planned Parenthood

See pictures already submitted in support of Planned Parenthood!

#standwithppWORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) stands with Planned Parenthood. We recognize the important role that these clinics play in making vital health care accessible to those who need it. In a number of areas, they are one of the few places that women can receive abortions, trans people can receive inclusive care, and all people have access to cancer screenings and HIV/STI treatment. The importance of this resource is recognized by poor and working people across the country.

It is not something new for the right-wing to whip up “pro-life” hysteria and aggression to attack Planned Parenthood. Intimidation and violence against clinics, staff and patients are an all too frequent occurrence. The summer release of the highly manipulated and dishonest “undercover” video has reinvigorated the violent attacks against clinics. Several clinics were attacked by arsonists, building sites were vandalized and, as is well known, the Colorado Springs clinic was attacked by a terrorist who killed three people.

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