New Orleans trans and workers organizations demonstrate for International Women’s Day
New Orleans, LA – Community members gathered in New Orleans on the weekend after International Women’s Day to mark the holiday in the context of critical struggles unfolding across the country. They gathered on Claiborne Avenue at the sight of the 2015 murder of Penny Proud, a 21-year-old Black trans women.
Serena Borne of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) highlighted the importance of gathering at this location. “We must understand the connection between legislation that attacks trans youth or women’s reproductive rights, and anti-trans hate crimes that happen far too often.”
Many local organizations joined together to hold the demonstration. Demonstrators waved signs that read “Abortion is essential healthcare” and “Decriminalize trans identity.” They received vocal support from passing drivers and residents along the route of their march.
United Teachers of New Orleans representative Lauren Jewett spoke about how the mistreatment and low payment of working-class women, such as teachers, negatively affects entire communities. She pointed out that in New Orleans charter schools that undervalue the labor of teachers has become the norm. This disconnects schools from the students and communities that they are supposed to serve.
Right-wing legislators in Louisiana have taken early measures to propose legislation that would deny trans minors gender-affirming healthcare and subject trans minors to isolation at school, similar to repressive laws recently passed in Texas. Kai Cavell from the Real Name Campaign said, “Last year activists challenged the politicians that are trying to repress trans youth and we won! We can show our strength again this year and continue the fight any time our community faces attacks.”
After chanting through the working-class Treme neighborhood, the marchers set up on traffic-heavy Broad Street. They yelled chants and passed out fliers to drivers at a nearby stop light. Members of Party for Socialism and Liberation-Central Gulf Coast marched in support under signs that read, “Defend Roe by any means necessary.”
Southern Workers Assembly member Tyra Sullivan spoke about the way that bosses in the local service industry have exploited the pandemic to treat women workers as disposable. She made the point that as the capitalist economy continues to get worse, women workers must organize in their workplaces to protect themselves against abuse from employers.