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Wisconsin FRSO celebrates International Women’s Day in Milwaukee

By Travis Albert

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Milwaukee, WI – On the evening of March 6, Wisconsin Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) hosted a celebration of International Women’s Day in Milwaukee. FRSO members were joined by roughly 50 activists and community members at Village Church. The event was titled “Women Rising: A Decade of Revolutionary Struggle.” Event organizers set out to highlight the key role played by women in the social movements over the last ten years as the new decade begins.

The walls were decorated with large, handmade posters containing images and information regarding revolutionary women in the environmental, immigrant rights and labor movements. Top-notch childcare and excellent food was provided free of charge by volunteers from FRSO.

After dinner, the program featured women leaders from various movements which are currently at the forefront of struggle in Milwaukee and the broader southeastern Wisconsin area. Speakers included Lauryn Cross, a young college student leading the charge for climate justice through the Youth Climate Action Team; Jaclyn Kelly, president of AFSCME Local 526, which represents the workers at Milwaukee Public Museum; and Ariana Holmes, a leader in both the student movement with UW-Parkside Students for a Democratic Society and in FRSO.

Cross spoke on how women's liberation is directly impacted by the struggle for climate justice. Kelly spoke about women in labor and highlighted the contract fight currently being waged at the museum which she is leading as president of the local. Holmes spoke about the need for working class leadership in the movement for women's liberation and the need for socialism. Each of them spoke about their own particular experiences as leaders in the movements which they organize in.

After the political program, music filled the hall thanks to the excellent work of DJ Gramma Matrix. People danced and talked for hours afterwards.

As evidence of the increasing influence of FRSO in Milwaukee and their yearly celebration of International Women's Day, two prominent politicians running in contested elections in the city even showed up to speak with the attendees: Rebecca Kiefer, running for judge in Milwaukee County; and Chris Larson, who is running for billionaire Chris Abele's open County Executive seat.

Larson faced some controversy earlier this year when he appeared at a “No War Against Iran” rally that was co-hosted by FRSO. He was pictured with members of FRSO and their banner at the event. This prompted a red-baiting article from a journalist affiliated with Larson's political rivals. The red-baiting and the attack against FRSO was condemned shortly thereafter by members of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.

At the end of the evening, the organizers were approached by representatives of the church who asked if they could keep the posters so that they could be on display for the congregation at Sunday services. All things considered, this International Women’s Day was a huge success, and a new standard has been set for Wisconsin FRSO moving forward.

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