The bitter return of winter in Chicago didn’t stop more than 500 people from claiming the streets on the afternoon of March 12 for The International Women’s Day March for Equality, Justice and Power. The march was organized by Women of ANSWER Chicago and was endorsed by BLM Women of Faith, Chicago Students Union, CODEPINK Chicago, and Women’s March Illinois.
Although the weather was cold, protesters were soon fired up with passion for their cause. People gathered at Trump Tower, where banners read “Women and LGBTQ Unite to Smash Sexism, Racism, and Gender Oppression!” and “Trump is the Symptom, Capitalism is the Disease, Socialism is the Cure!” Placards read “Smash the Patriarchy and Capitalism!” and “Resist, Insist, Persist!” Other placards denounced the new healthcare bill, while others called for abortions on demand. LGBTQ Pride Flags and Trans Flags were found throughout the crowd.
The protest was militant and well organized and the mood was one of overwhelming comradery. The predominantly young and working class protesters recognized that they are all in the same struggle, that they all have the same foe. The solidarity of the people was evident in the array of chants that touched on the fight of all oppressed communities. Chants included, “Healthcare is a human right, not just for the rich and white!” and “Black Lives Matter!” and “Immigrant’s Right, Women’s Rights: Same Struggle, Same Fight!”
After marching down Michigan Avenue, protesters held a rally to voice their continued opposition to the Trump regime of sexism, white-supremacy, anti-LGBTQ oppression, and war. Speakers rallied the crowds with speeches that demanded gender and income equality, defending Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. Speakers denounced planet destroyers and voiced their support for the Water Protectors. Lucie Macías from ANSWER Chicago focused on the special plight that immigrant women face. ANSWER Chicago Co-coordinator Stefanie Fisher called for International Women’s Day to be a day of internationalism on which we oppose imperialist war and build a movement to get the U.S. war machine off the backs of women and men around the world.
If this march showed anything, it’s that The People are becoming aware of their collective power. The people have had enough. They are mad. And they are standing up to build their own vehicles for power. We will stay in the streets as long as it takes. We are sending a message to the Trump regime: “Women are the majority and we will be decisive in this struggle. We are not going away and we will stay in the streets until we defeat you and your agenda!”