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International Women’s Day rally promotes solidarity

By Angela McGill

International Women's Day celebration in Jacksonville, FL.

Jacksonville, FL – Over 80 people came out to celebrate International Women's Day, March 8. The event took place at Klutho Park near downtown Jacksonville, sponsored by Coalition for Consent and Women’s March. Several groups came out in support, including the Jacksonville Community Action Committee and UNF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Food Not Bombs provided lots of delicious vegan food. Funds collected that evening were donated to future Coalition for Consent events and workshops.

The event started at sunset with a brief history of International Women's Day. All types of women and gender minorities gave speeches, songs and performed spoken word. Mariah Joy and Elias Joseph from UNF SDS gave a short update on their campaign, stating, “SDS has campaigned for peace and prosperity on campus every semester and has come out victorious, and we have no intention of stopping the fight for anyone! Not now or ever; no justice no peace!”

Christina Kittle gave us a presentation on sexual harassment in the workplace and what steps can be taken to fight back against it. Monique Sampson from the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC), stated, “Black women are not allies in liberation movements. We are leaders. We are principled. It is very important to uplift and respect principled Black leadership.”

Sissi Shepard and Latasha Hobbs, the mothers of slain community members, spoke. In both cases, the murderers were not prosecuted, because of police negligence. “There is no time like the present to stop the violence. Nothing is promised for tomorrow but life or death, which would you rather choose?” Many of the speakers, including the mothers, called for police accountability. There was a musical performance by a recent survivor turned activist, Jessica Pounds, who chose to sing about her recent triumph over her abuser. The event ended with a famous chant: “The power of the people is stronger than any weapon!”

“We believe all these struggles are united in the journey towards liberation. We come together in solidarity and unity to fight the powers that be, in the hopes of ending oppression and creating opportunity for the future,” said one event participant.

#JacksonvilleFL #InternationalWomensDay