For Immediate Release
Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director
LOS ANGELES–Rain gave way to bright sunshine on Sunday, as over 1,500 participants followed the call of AF3IRM, a transnational feminist organization, to take over the streets of Los Angeles in the name of women’s liberation. Those in attendance ranged in age, gender, and ethnicity and filled the streets with their voices, songs, and bodies of resistance. With 97 endorsing organizations, the International Women’s Day March and Rally on March 6th reflected the intersectionality of women’s struggles and the need for women and allies to work together to end what AF3IRM calls “genocide of womankind” and all forms of violence against women.
The empowering energy of the march was palpable. With each speech, song, and stop, participants became more engaged and inspired to think about what their liberation looks like. Led by the Mamas’ Contingent and their children in strollers, the route followed the multi-rally tradition of last year’s march and started with Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters and continued onward to the Federal Building, the Detention Center, Union Station, and finally ending on the Cesar Chavez Bridge. The speeches and performances covered a diverse range of women’s issues from police brutality to immigration rights, to state violence and transwomen rights, to Islamophobia and occupation, and the missing and murdered women and girls locally. Speakers were from organizations such as the [email protected] Coalition, Black Lives Matter, Ovarian Psyco Cycles, Tiyya Foundation, FAMILIA Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Justice for My Sister, USC Students for Justice in Palestine, Global Women’s Strike, KmB Pro-People Youth, and IDEPSCA.
The flames of creative resistance were alive that day – from Faith Santilla’s poem “Mirror Images” to the music-filled march and program. [email protected] and [email protected] played songs as others danced and sang with them. Hip hop artist Mystic fired up the crowd in front of LAPD, while Tylana Enomoto and Martha Gonzales of Quetzal joined with other musicians from the Federal Building all the way to the Cesar Chavez Bridge to serenade detainees in the style of #ChantDowntheWalls. The chants of “Whose Streets, Our Streets” roared through the Cesar Chavez tunnel. Maya Jupiter closed out the day’s program, singing against the backdrop of the bridge and LA River.
Attendees held up signs of a rose within a fist, a symbol of AF3IRM’s Purple Rose Campaign against trafficking and a reminder of the power of women’s resistance. Many of the placards had quotes, poems, and slogans that paid tribute to many of our sheroes, activists, authors, and artists. They re-affirmed the value of women (“Women’s Voice is a Revolution”) and shared the words of June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Berta Cáceres, Yuri Kochiyama, Rupi Kaur, Naomi Littlebear and Sandra Cisneros. Others, such as one that said “Hillary, bombing is not feminist,” sent clear messages to those in power that the people are vigilant and critical of those who seek to be leaders of this country.
The International Women’s Day March and Rally, organized and led by the women of color in AF3IRM, was once again the largest rally in the country in honor of International Women’s Day, despite the earlier threats of rainfall. The revolutionary spirit of women and the beauty of our collective resistance shined through and blessed the event. It was clear from the faces and voices of those present that the march provided a much needed space for all women and their allies to come together not only to resist but to dream of a better world. As AF3IRM’s National Chair Jollene Levid said at the opening rally, “We are the architects of our own realities” and the march provided another step for many to move forward towards our liberation and into a new world of our own creation.