Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Orlando celebrates International Women’s Day

By Edmund Anglero

Speakers at Orlando International Women's Day celebration express solidarity with Palestine. | Fight Back! News/Jacob Muldoon

Orlando, FL – On Saturday, March 9, the Orlando district of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) held a panel commemorating International Women’s Day, with the central theme of standing with the women of Palestine. Around 20 community members and activists attended the event.

The panel was facilitated by FRSO Orlando member and longtime anti-war activist Cassia Laham. Guest speakers included Onyesonwu Chatoyer of the All-African Women’s Revolutionary Union and Fatima Sadaf Saied, executive director of the Muslim Women’s Organization. Lama Alhasan, organizer with the Bay Area Dream Defenders, and Rasha Mubarak of the Florida Palestine Network joined the panel via Zoom.

The event started off with a chant of, “Resistance is justified when people are occupied!” Laham introduced the panel by contextualizing the struggle of Palestinian women, who have been fighting for 75-plus years, stating, “As we speak, women in Palestine are dying at the hands of a brutal and merciless military campaign made possible only with the dollars and instruments of death provided to Israel by the United States.”

Laham added, “It is for these women, the women of Palestine, that we are gathering here today. Because there can be no celebration of women on March 8, 2024, without celebrating the heroic resistance, resilience, and courage that the women of Palestine have exemplified for decades under a brutal occupation. We cannot commemorate International Women’s Day without commemorating the thousands of Palestinian women slaughtered by Israel not just since October of 2023, but since the Nakba of 1948.”

Laham went on to explain the socialist and working-class origins of International Women’s Day, her experience as an Arab American woman in the movement for Palestine, and the FRSO’s position on Palestine. The FRSO supports the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate every inch of their land, from the river to the sea. and the right to return.

The guest speakers discussed their experiences as women organizers in the movement. Both Onyesonwu Chatoyer and Fatima Sadaf Saied discussed experiences of being excluded from activist and religious spaces, respectively, but also in organizing to overcome that adversity.

“My earliest expression of politics was feminist, was for the liberation of women. And that experience with, in other words, having to take accountability for years of harm to African women and trans women, but also recognizing there actually wasn’t solidarity between women across the board. That some of us were locked out from some people's conception of feminism was definitely radicalizing,” said Chatoyer.

On the need to stand with the women of Palestine this International Women’s Day, Lama Alhasan stated, “Women have always played a key role in the resistance and liberation of Palestine.” She continued, “The fight for Palestine and the fight for liberation is not standalone to Palestinians. And everything that we do, especially inside the belly of the beast, is really important because the task that we have is to cut the ties that the U.S. has with Israel.”

The panel concluded with a Q and A open to the audience. The panelists fielded questions ranging from how to combat misinformation regarding the occupation, challenging male chauvinism, and the role of socialism in women’s liberation.

#OrlandoFL #FL #WomensMovement #AntiWarMovement #International #MiddleEast #Palestine #InternationalWomensDay #FRSO