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Chicago students rally for women's rights

By Liz Rathburn

Chicago students mark International Women's Day.

Chicago, IL – On March 15, protesters rallied at the University of Illinois at Chicago to commemorate International Women’s Month. Over a dozen students and activists listened to speakers from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society. Speakers denounced both the recent attacks on women’s and reproductive rights nationwide, and rampant sexual violence on college campuses.

As students gathered, SDSers led the crowd in chants of, “We will not give up this fight, abortion is a human right!” “Dare to struggle! Dare to win!” and “Abortion is healthcare, healthcare is a right!”

First to speak was SDSer Erin Boyle. She attacked the prevalence of gendered violence in public spaces and college campuses, describing how the threat of assault shapes so much of her day-to-day life.

Boyle said, “Women and non-binary people do the extra labor of rethinking our routes home at night for maximum safety, plan ahead as to travel in groups, beg a male friend to accompany us. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of living in a fear factory!”

Boyle continued, “I want an end to the misogynistic culture that enacts the vicious rape culture rampant on college campuses and throughout our communities. I want abortion recognized as healthcare and I want safe and equal access to that healthcare!”

Speakers from Freedom Road talked about the need for unity in the face of attacks from reactionary Republicans and their Wall Street backers, emphasizing the interconnected nature of the struggle for women’s liberation and LGBTQ liberation with the worker's movement.

Freedom Road general member Hailey Bates read the FRSO International Women’s Day statement to the crowd. Afterward, she ended the rally, leading the crowd in chants of “I believe that we will win!”

#ChicagoIL #InternationalWomensDay