WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands of women, and men, took the day off work on International Women’s Day to participate in at least three rallies and strikes throughout Washington D.C. to call for more rights, equality, and freedom.
Dozens of women held a strike at the Freedom Plaza in front of the White House around 11 a.m. A march, which began at the Department of Labor around 3:30 p.m., ended up with a well-organized presentation and rally in front of the Canadian Embassy.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) were among several lawmakers who attended and spoke at the afternoon political rally.
Next year, Kaptur will become the longest-serving woman in House history. “The fight for labor is an honorable fight. It is a fight for your worth as a human being, whether you live in this country or across the border anywhere in the world,” Kaptur told the crowd. She relayed a story about her mother whose boss took half of her first check as a waitress when the nation had first enacted minimum wage. “It is a valiant and a bloody fight sometimes.” She said, “the union contract is your ladder up. It is the most powerful tool for working women and working men to bargain, in a peaceful setting, for their worth as human beings.”
A Hispanic woman, who kicked off the program, called Donald Trump a “pathological predator in chief.” The majority of women at the march parroted talking points pushed by the mainstream media about members of the Trump administration.
She said she stood with women all over the world who have suffered under oppressive political regimes. “I stand with my sisters who died in Rana Plaza in Bangladesh and who burned in the Factory in the Philippines, and migrant workers and domestic workers in Hong Kong.” She said she stands with women who are not “allowed to pee at work, or who get pregnant and fired and not get paid overtime. I stand with people over profits, workers over corporations, immigrants over tyrants.”
Another woman who spoke on stage spoke of her distressing experience when she was told by one of her employers that she had to lower her skirt and open her blouse to receive better tips. A handful of other women on the stage shared similar experiences with the crowd.
Many women brought snacks and food with them to the strike. They told Breitbart News they were not spending money on Wednesday to let businesses feel the impact of their absence.
Krista, a tax attorney, said, “I want to be in solidarity with all the other women workers, especially ones who can’t afford to take the day off or don’t have the privilege or right to do that like I do.” She said, “today is about fighting for the rights of women workers, fair wages, childcare, ending sexual harassment in the workplace, and the right to support your family.”
The Socialist Alternative was also there. Shama Sawant, who is an active member of Socialist Alternative, and started the movement calling for a nationwide $15-per-hour minimum wage in Seattle. “We’re a political party fighting for Democratic Socialism,” he said. “A lot of ideas Bernie Sanders put out are ideas we embrace. We would go even farther,” he said. “We do not support the Republican or the Democratic Parties because there is only one party in this country and it is the Wall Street Party,” he said,” complaining about the influence of money and lobbies in politics and government.
Sebastian, a student at American University, held up a flag of D.C. with a green alien head patched onto it. Asked why the alien head, he told Breitbart News,”The people of D.C. are aliens. We have no voice. And we deserve a voice in our government.” He said part of his reason for attending the women’s strike was because he believes “the Republicans are able to score easy political points in overturning things. A few years back, they blocked a needle exchange program that the city was trying to start.”
Drag queen performer Vita Santa Mamita wore a decapitated Trump piñata around his waist over a dress and faux red fur jacket. “I’m here today because women have always been the strongest figures of my life. They’re my inspiration,” he told Breitbart News.
“Women are the reason I do drag. It’s to pay tribute to the amazing, strong people in the world who have done so much and have so much adversary.” Asked who in his life inspired him the most, Mamita said, “my mother, because she’s an immigrant woman from Italy and she supported my entire family through saving money as a hairdresser and saving up to buy property. And I just have so much respect for her for keeping our family together, for being our financial rock, for always being a strong and inspiring figure.”
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz.