Women hold Up Half The Sky!!

root - Posted on 27 May 2002

Women march in the Bay Area in solidarity with the Global Women's Strike

by Alicia Leanos/PoorNewsNetwork youth in the media intern

"Clank klingggg tingggg…" The sounds of clanking pots rose above the barren
brick walls and stone walkways of the plaza at the San Francisco Department
of Human Services ( read welfare office) in a chorus of resistance with
women all over the world to celebrate the Global Womens' Strike.

"Please bang pots and pans in solidarity with mujeres de Argentina ( women
in Argentina)" , Rachel from Every Mother is a Working Mother(EMWM) was leading the chants with two steel frying pans."Yes to Welfare no to War... Si' to Welfare... No to Aguirre"

Women marched internationally on Friday, March 8th to demand several basic issues be recognized;1) payment for caring work; 2) pay equity for all paid maternity leave and other benefits;3) don't pay 'Third World debt' we owe Nothing, they owe us; 4)accessible clean water and non-polluting technology' accessible healthcare, housing, transport, literacy and information; protection and 5) asylum from all violence and persecution and freedom of movement.

"We believe Welfare is a right - we don't want to be forced to stop taking
care of our own children and be forced to take a job, any job." Rachel
continued. And we don't want billions of dollars squandered on war.."

As she spoke the crowd grew - this was only the first stop on todays march- The next presenter was Chandra from EMWM, who sang a song to the melody of the Richie Valens song; La Bamba, "Come and strike ..Women strike..sing yes to welfare, no to war.."

The cold brick of the plaza began to gleam with a new power- women's power..
" Say it with me , Women hold up half the sky.." Kiilu Nyasha, the fierce writer, activist and artist, directed the audience to represent, " We do about half of the world's work and make 5% of the world's income.."

"Single mothers have never been supported to raise their children- we have never been encouraged to parent, when I was raising my children - as long as I went to work, and had someone else take care of my children, I was ok- I was a wage earner- the person taking care of children was a wage earner- when I stayed home to raise my children I was lazy, I was a bum" Kiilu spoke the truth that is rarely spoken - the truth that all women - all mothers - are never supported to do just that - mother their children.

After the crowd grew to the hundreds including the striking workers from Taco Bell, the march set out to Bank of America, City Hall and McDonalds . Their goals at all these stops were to expose how these institutions devalue our work and our lives and support militarization and corporate globalization.

The march ended at the Federal Building demanding that all the wealth that
has been drained from women and children to pay for wars that are killing us is redirected from military spending to caring, feeding, healing.

"Si welfare..No Aguirre...Yes to WElfare ..No to War!!!"


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