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International Women’s Day in Chicago

By staff |
March 11, 2018
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Chicago marks Intentional Women's Day.
Chicago marks Intentional Women's Day. (Photo by Ervin Lopez )

Chicago, IL - Women from the national liberation struggles and the working class were honored at Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s annual event in Chicago, March 10, to celebrate International Women’s Day. More than 60 activists heard about the Black liberation movement icons, Marion Stamps and Sylvia Woods.

Stamps, a member of the Black Panther Party, went on as an organizer in the Cabrini Green housing project to help elect Mayor Harold Washington in 1983. Marion’s memory was honored by her daughter, Tara Stamps, a leader in the Chicago Teachers Union.

Sylvia Woods began in the 1930s as a laundry worker who led a successful fight for unionization. A lifelong member of the Communist Party, she was the head of the Chicago Committee to Free Angela Davis, and founding co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Her story was told by Mildred Williamson, who was recruited by Woods to the Alliance.

Nesreen Hasan of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network spoke about and read a statement from Chicago’s beloved Palestinian community leader, Rasmea Odeh. Because of her years of dedication to Palestine, Rasmea was targeted by the U.S. government and deported last year to Jordan. She reported that her work for Palestine continues, and she expressed certainty in the victory of the cause.

Joy Sales of the Filipina women’s group, GABRIELA, shared the story Maria Lorena Barros, a martyr of the Philippines national democratic revolution, and founder of MAKIBAKA, a militant women’s organization.

Jazmine Salas, co-chair of the Stop Police Crimes committee of the Alliance and the main organizer of the panel, gave a passionate account about the Puerto Rican heroine, Lolita Lebron. Lebron led an armed action to demand independence for her homeland, leading three men fighters from her Nationalist Party to assault the U.S. Congress in 1954.

Nataki Rhodes, co-chair of the Alliance Steering Committee, and Jennifer No, a field coordinator for the Alliance, described the #CopsToo campaign for justice for women victims of rape and sexual assault by members of the Chicago Police Department.

Salas saluted Freedom Road Socialist Organization for sponsoring the program, and said that only with socialism, “can women achieve full political, social and economic equality.” She explained that, “Under socialism, all workers, including women, would control the means of production.” She pointed to socialist Cuba to show how women’s liberation became possible with the revolution in 1959.