International Women’s Day

Video by Barbara Sam and Kendrick Davis

By Alondra Abreu

What started out as a silent protest on International Women’s Day in Washington Square Park quickly grew to a roar as the crowd began voicing their opinions. “The liberation of women will come with the liberation of all people,” said a speaker on stage. The crowd of several hundred countered the chant back.

At first you could hear the distant sound of drums playing, the rhythm humming along as several people tried to find their friends and family who were also at the march. Women who couldn’t leave their kids at home brought them along to witness the historic moment. Others were buying “pussy hats” in bright pink or wearing red to support the cause.

As the rhythm of the drums faded away, a woman dressed as Wonder Woman sang a Mexican song, but changed the lyrics to make it about equal rights.

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The demonstration’s goal was to focus on the indispensable role women play in daily life in tangible and intangible ways. However, other issues were on people’s signs as well. Aside from cyberbullying, racism, and anti-Semitism, many used the march to voice their thoughts on Trump’s presidency. One woman sealed her mouth with gold tape and wore handcuffs to express how society is limiting and oppressing not just women, but minorities as well. By missing work, school, and refusing to spend money – except at women and minority owned small businesses — the group hoped to send a message about the power women have to affect change.

Photos by Jessica Situ

The Center for American Progress estimated that if all employed women took off on March 8 it would cost the U.S. $21 billion in GDP. Last month, immigrants and supporters participated in a “Day Without Immigrants.” Some schools and businesses were forced to close because of a lack of workers, while others opened with minimum staff.

In the Washington Square, people in the crowd who wore red were requested to lie down on a long red carpet and hold signs. A gentleman from the crowd asked if they weren’t afraid of the germs. One of the ladies responded by saying, “We are New Yorkers, we sometimes get a little dirty and that’s okay.”

Similar events were held in other cities such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The marches were held to recognize the struggle women of all backgrounds who receive lower wages and are vulnerable to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity.

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