Centro CSO hosts 5th annual International Women's Day Event
Los Angeles, CA – On March 6, Centro CSO hosted its fifth annual International Women’s Day event. Hosted over Zoom for the second consecutive year, “Luchadorxs de Los Ángeles: Resisting State Sanctioned Violence during a Pandemic” highlighted the efforts of women in leading the fights against police brutality, the privatization of education as well as other struggles.
The event kicked off with a solidarity statement from Sol Marquez, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Centro CSO’s core, immigration, and police brutality committees. Marquez said, “We have come a long way. For Chicanas and Latinas, between the 1920s and 1950s we suffered forced and state-sanctioned sterilization in the highest numbers. Out of about 60,000 total sterilizations, more than 20,000 were Chicanas and in California, meaning one-third all the sterilizations in the U.S. were to our people.”
Marquez continued, “Texas, Mississippi, and Florida are three places where the system is currently attacking our reproductive freedom, and the right to determine what is best for our bodies. Let’s continue fighting back against these attacks. March 8 is our day, but also our reminder to keep pushing back against the many ways the U.S. attempts to wipe out our people, through controlling what we do with our bodies.“
After Marquez’s speech, Cristal Haro, an artist born and raised in Boyle Heights as well as a member of Centro CSO’s police accountability committee, first read poetry before presenting a series of paintings. Haro’s paintings focused particularly on crimes committed by the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s departments in Boyle Heights/East LA, including the 2016 murder of 14-year-old Jesse Romero by two-time killer cop Eden Medina.
Facilitated by CSO core members Isabel Gurrola and Juliana Castellon, the panel discussion included representatives from each of CSO’s three committees. Gurrola and Castellon asked panelists three questions: What made you want to become active in your community? How has gender roles and expectations sparked or fueled your activism as a femme or non-binary person? How has organizing during a pandemic impacted your life?
Julie Regalado and Antonietta Garcia, parents and veterans of the movement against charter schools in Boyle Heights and East LA, spoke on behalf of CSO’s education committee. Regalado explained how charters selectively admitted students – for example, denying those with learning needs – inspired her activism while Garcia sees the threat that these privatized schools have on public education in her community.
Hilda Pedroza, sister of David Ordaz Jr. who was killed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department on March 14, 2021, and Em Hubbard represented CSO’s police accountability committee. Pedroza described not only how the killing of her brother forced her to take up the fight against LASD, but also how she tries to raise her own sons to combat sexism. Both activists attended the recent conference for the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in Chicago and are trying to win community control of the sheriffs through a charter amendment.
Finally, Ofelia Carrillo and Jenny Bekenstein, who works at UPS and organizes against U.S. intervention in Central America, presented for CSO’s immigration committee. According to Carrillo, the experience of patriarchy within her immigrant family began her journey toward organizing. Bekenstein mentioned how observing the progress socialism has brought to women in Nicaragua helped lead her to CSO.
Centro CSO can be reached through its email ([email protected]), by texting its hotline 323-943-2030, or messaging various social media platforms: @CentroCSO on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok.