#ReclaimFeminisms: On the Job. At Home. In Our Movements.
Building the US Chapter of World March of Women (WMW)
At the Membership Assembly 2014, GGJ members made the historic decision to build a US chapter of the World March of Women (WMW), an international, feminist action movement comprised of 67 national chapters across all continents, connecting grassroots groups and organizations working to eliminate the root causes of poverty and violence against women.
The work of building a US chapter of the World March of Women is a large task and will require deepening the discussions of feminisms and gender justice within our organizations and communities, and also broadening our reach beyond our alliance to bridge and connect with other feminist, gender justice and women's rights groups across the US.
We believe that in order to truly address women’s rights, our work has to confront the root causes of economic and ecological crises that are impacting women and transgender people at a disproportionate rate. The US needs a Just Transition that moves us away from dirty energy and toward alternative energies, and the demands for the new world we are building must be feminist. That means we must organize around a diversity of feminisms, and a broad view of women’s rights that includes economic, racial and social justice and addresses the gender-based oppression that women, transgender and gender non-conforming people face.
GGJ took a first step on the road to building the US chapter of the World March of Women this summer with our Reclaiming Feminisms at the Grassroots tour.
Sandra Morán, International Committee of World March of Women and Coordinator of Sector de Mujeres in Guatemala, visited GGJ members and allies in seven US cities from June 18-July 3: San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Antonio TX, Albuquerque NM, Raleigh NC, New York NY, and Miami FL. She met with nearly 1,000 organizers through public events, organizer exchanges, political and popular education workshops, and one national online hangout hosted by LeftRoots. Sandra inspired grassroots organizers across the US to explore the integration of a gender justice lens and connection to women’s daily struggles into their ongoing work. See below for quotes from GGJ members who hosted the tour.
Along the tour we began defining what a US chapter of the World March of Women will look like. In the coming months we will be drafting a plan for the next phase of building this work, and getting ready for a series of globally coordinated WMW actions in 2015, beginning on International Women’s Day March 8th and continuing through October 2015 with a 24-hour action on April 24 to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the women workers who were killed in the tragic garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.
Learn About World March of Women Fields of Action:
WMW focuses on 4 main fields of action: Women’s Economic Autonomy, a concept much broader than financial autonomy, in that it also includes access to social security and public services and refers to women’s capacity to support themselves and their dependents, and to decide the best way to do so; Common Good and Public Services, organizing access to basic requirements for living with dignity (food, water, land, housing, knowledge, etc) and building gender equity within the distribution of family responsibilities; Peace and Demilitarization, going beyond a mere absence of war to also address equal participation of women in processes of establishing peace, eradication of poverty, and the decriminalization of those who live in poverty; and Violence Against Women, including in the private sphere of domestic violence as well as in the public spheres of workplace harassment, denial of safe reproductive options, and the compounded impact of different modes of oppression (race, class, language, etc).
Stay tuned to ggjalliance.org to get updates on building the WMW US chapter.
Quotes from the tour:
“When women speak about our histories, they are stories of terror. But we also have to remember how we have survived. Those experiences of survival become political transformations.” — Sandra Morán, from LeftRoots national online hangout
"We need to change the way we live now, together, so we can save the planet, I'm asking you to be my compañera/o in the struggle." — Sandra Morán, posted by Camilo Sol Zamora, Causa Justa :: Just Cause
"The challenge for us in the movement is how do we confront the people in power, but also how we confront the problems within ourselves." — Sandra Moran, posted by Robbie Clark, Causa Justa :: Just Cause
“LA's GGJ member organizations—Labor/Community Strategy Center and Communities for a Better Environment—are thrilled to participate in the founding of the first US chapter of World March of Women. We are excited to follow the lead of WMW in international movement-building. And we are eager for a new and renewed round of learning about Patriarchy, especially its ugliest face under the global domination of US imperialism. We are blood and soul fighting the same enemy and already are drawing strength from our combined force. GGJ, bring Sandra to our city any day!!!” — Lian Mann, Labor/Community Strategy Center
"We came together to discuss what in our midst could be considered "taboo", i.e., feminism. It told me there is hunger, interest and ánimo to keep the conversation alive." — Patricia Castillo, P.E.A.C.E Initiative, San Antonio, Texas
“Sandra’s visit to New Mexico allowed us to bring together groups and people we don’t generally get to work with to talk about an issue that we don’t generally get to bring to light in our work. Talking about Reclaiming Feminisms has allowed SWOP and our allies to open a much-needed discussion around gender justice. Not to mention her spirit and energy contributed to a music-filled night many of us won’t soon forget!”— SouthWest Organizing Project, Albuquerque, NM
"During the Bay Area Organizer Exchange, Sandra explained to us that movements are like the leaves on a bare tree in winter, you may not be able to see them, but they are there waiting to spring up. Living in a time and place like the Bay Area where the housing crisis has reached epic proportions and fighting against gentrification and displacement through our tenant's rights clinics, I am reminded that this is we are living in times of protracted struggle and it is important to take a breath, have patience because the leaves are springing up!" — Lucia Castañeda Kimble, Regional Rights Based Services Lead Organizer, Causa Justa :: Just Cause
"This was so inspiring! I think we should organize a 2 million woman march in the United States!!" Gerthina Harris, Causa Justa :: Just Cause member
Excerpt from a letter from Sandra to GGJ members that hosted the tour:
“I hope that whatever touched your heart is able to flourish for the good of your daily work and in your personal lives, we have much to do and so it is very important that we have the energy to continue, unleash the heart and creativity to move forward. What I shared with you is a political synthesis of many years of discussions, findings, conclusions, readings and collective learning, so thank you for creating space for me, for listening and letting me talk to you all, for moving you and for the drum to sound once again. You can count on me as much as possible to continue the conversation, but I have no recipes, I have experiences and these can be useful…
Cindy told me that what drives us is love and I also share that, there is no greater love that exists than the one that we have to building a life for everyone, to learning to be better as we face what will come towards us, so let us try to find beauty, which is always there, in simplicity, in silence, in the word, at dawn, at dusk, let us reclaim the possibility of seeing the stars, the possibility of listening to the birds, let us recover the possibility of understanding what the energies of life around us are saying and learn to build from it.”