Monday, May 01, 2006


Tired of Being an Angry Feminist

Today was May Day, recently dubbed “A Day Without Immigrants.” To protest new legislation harmful to the immigrant community there was a boycott of school, work and purchasing today. I was at the State House for an internship and I was all geared up for the huge rally that was going on outside on the Boston Common, only to pass a the One Source crew holding mops and giving each other instructions in Spanish. Why weren’t they at the rally?

That dampened my spirits a bit--especially because woman immigrants are some of the most disenfranchised people in this country.

This weekend was actually a huge protest week. There was a 350,000 strong March for Peace Justice and Democracy on Saturday in Manhattan. According to a NOW press release, “The streets of New York City echoed [Saturday] with the chants, songs and shouts of at least 350,000 people from across the United States. Mobilized around the calls to end the war in Iraq, say no to any attack on Iran, and to support the rights and dignity of all people, including immigrants and women, the marchers brought a renewed urgency to the clear demand for change. The march featured the largest antiwar labor contingent in U.S. history.

Initiated by an historic alliance linking a diverse coalition of national organizations -- United for Peace and Justice, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Organization for Women, Friends of the Earth, Climate Crisis Coalition, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans For Peace, National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, People's Hurricane Relief Fund -- the March for Peace, Justice and Democracy embodied the understanding that all those working for such goals must come together to right the reckless, dangerous, and wrong-headed direction the U.S. government has been following.”

Yesterday there was a huge rally to save Darfur at the National Mall in Washington DC. The protesters were led by students.

But the fact that the people we are trying to help can’t even afford to participate in these rallies is really discouraging. After having helped plan a rally, I realize how much work it is to even get a small showing.

Should we be focusing our rage on more tangible problems?

In terms of empowerment of women…Actually, empowerment is not the right term. In terms of MITIGATING rape, The Women’s Commission for Refugees and Children has been active in promoting ways to end real problems related to the genocide. Women who are displaced because of conflict, like in Darfur, must settle in dangerous refugee camps. When they go to collect firewood they are often in danger of getting raped and exploited. A solution based approach focuses on alternative fuel sources so women don’t get raped as much.

Are people doing more than just shouting about Iran, Iraq and immigration as well? Legal Momentum seems to be doing good work on behalf of women immigrants. I am sure there are more examples and I’ll try to post some when I get distracted from studying for finals.

But until then, I urge you to say hello to the One Source woman who cleans your bathroom. Maybe you should ask her about her kids, or if it meant anything to her that you wore a white T-shirt today and boycotted goods. Maybe if you tell her, it will matter.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll say hello to my One Source woman when she learns English.


10:26 AM  

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