On the evening of International Women’s Day, the local branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized a speak-out and rally to stand up and fight back against President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Held at the corner of College and Chapel streets right next to the New Haven Green, Wednesday’s rally lasted about an hour and attracted about 75 people. Individuals of all genders and races spoke out about how Trump’s policies are hurting women and promoting a sexist and racist agenda that needs to be fought against. Attendees read poems, started chants and shared their stories while imploring those around them — men and women alike — to get involved and fight for women’s rights.
“If we don’t stand together, we can’t defeat what’s coming at us,” said Norman Clement, a New Haven activist and veteran protestor.
Attendees held signs with messages such as “Women hold up half the sky,” and “Women won’t be silent: health care is a right,” among others. As the protest was underway, many driving by in cars hollered or screamed in support of the demonstration. However, on one occasion a man in a zooming car yelled out to protestors to “Shut … up.”
As the crowd booed the man, Clement asserted that the fight is against “idiots” like the driver who obviously “[don’t] like women.”
One woman, who refers to herself simply as C.J., expressed her disappointment with the small turnout that afternoon. Clement similarly voiced his frustration with what many present saw as a disappointing attendance.
“There should be millions and women, millions of people out on the street today,” he said. “People have to realize that they have to get uncomfortable if they want change.”
While some, like Clement and C.J., used their own words to speak about the reasons for the fight, others used the opportunity to share more historically significant remarks that could inspire people to fight.
Activist Barbara Fair shared part of the speech “Ain’t I A Woman,” originally delivered by Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention in 1851 in Akron, Ohio.
Later, she shared her story and the story of her daughter Holly Tucker, whom Fair alleged was assaulted by members of the New Haven Police Department. Tucker’s ongoing case has generated activist support from some in New Haven.
Beatrice Codianni, another prominent city activist, also spoke as a founding member of the National Council for Incarcerated Women and shared some statistics with the crowd.
“The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population but 30 percent of the world’s incarcerated women. That is obscene,” she said.
Other protesters also focused on promoting their own activist agendas in support of women.
Jess Angle, for example, advocated on behalf of a program called Project Period, which asks for donations in the form of feminine hygiene products. In homeless shelters and safe houses, women need these toiletries and products but do not have the money to buy them for themselves, Angle said.
One of the organizers, IV Staklo, ended the protest by chanting “We’re gonna beat back the Trump attack. Trump says get back, we say fight back.”
Women’s Day was observed was first observed in New York on Feb. 28, 1909.