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Los Angeles: Centro CSO hosts 6th annual International Women’s Day

By staff

International Women's Day celebration in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA – On March 12, more than 50 people gathered at Salazar Park in East Los Angeles to rally with Centro CSO for its 6th annual International Women’s Day commemoration. Speakers included leaders from CSO’s different committees – education, police accountability and immigration – who explained the importance of women’s liberation to their work.

The attendees also heard from members of CSO Orange County and Freedom Road Socialist Organization as well as two artists, Diosa Xochiquetzalcóatl and Daisy Magallanes.

Diana Terreros, a founder of CSO-Orange County and a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, was the emcee of the rally, along with Juliana Regalado. They presented the history of International Women’s Day before speaking about the current struggle against gender-based oppression.

“Women still only earn 77% of what male workers earn,” said Terreros. “Chicanas earn only 70% on average. We still face violence on a daily basis. In Orange County, 26.3% of women report experiencing physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner.”

Storm Amaro, a high school student who is part of CSO’s Police Accountability Committee, spoke of her experience of sexual assault at her school. Instead of making her feel safe and protected, the police investigating the incident asked her “What were you wearing” and if the assailant was her boyfriend. The officers went as far as saying “Boys will be boys.” Storm closed her speech by saying, “Why is it ‘protect our daughters’ and not ‘educate your goddamn sons!’”

Jazmin Garcia, an organizer of Eastside Padres Contra la Privatización, represented CSO’s Education Committee. Having been in the trenches for years fighting to protect public education, Garcia spoke about how women – particularly educators and mothers – have given her tremendous life lessons. Garcia explained how the women of UTLA and SEIU, unions of LAUSD, are fighting for a living wage. She emphasized, “the institution of public education is fundamental to our democracy and that every day we should all continue fighting for racial and educational justice for all students.”

Jenny Bekenstein, a Teamster at Local 396 and member of FRSO, spoke on behalf of women workers, highlighting how even today women are yet to win equal pay and fair wages. As the Teamsters’ UPS contract is set to expire this summer, Bekenstein connected gender-based oppression to the fight for better working conditions. She broke down the division at her UPS hub where women are mainly part-time workers and receive minimum wage whereas full-time drivers are usually men and make $42 an hour. Because women are responsible for childcare, they often cannot work full time. She asked, “Why do you have to get a pay cut because you have to pick up your kids?”

Sol Marquez, the chair of CSO’s Immigration and Police Accountability committees as well as a member of FRSO, spoke about Title 42, a racist policy put in place by Trump that denies asylum to Mexicans and Central Americans. She then called for attendees to support a border delegation April 1st to 5th that CSO is planning as part of the Legalization 4 All Network. Marquez finished her speech by highlighting the successes of Marxism-Leninists at fighting gender-based oppression, stating, “The socialist Cuban government is a leading example for how to protect its LGBTQ population and by making transitioning for trans people a seamless and free one. Feliz día internacional de las mujeres! Today is for women, trans, and queer people!”

Along with these speeches, the rally included original poetry and writing from Diosa Xochiquetzalcóatl and Daisy Magallanes. Emcees Juliana Reglado and Diana Terreros ended Centro CSO’s 6th annual International Women's Day commemoration with chants like “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “El estado opresor es un macho violador!”

#LosAngelesCA #InternationalWomensDay