Monday, February 11, 2013

02-11-13 Defend Women's Rights

Thursday, March 7, SUNY New Paltz

Over a score of community, labor, feminist, peace & justice, political and college organizations are backing a Mid-Hudson regional commemoration of International Women’s Day at 6:30 p.m. in spacious Lecture Center 100 on the SUNY campus.
They will demand: Stop Violence Against Women, Stop the War on Women’s Rights, Defend Reproductive Justice, Full Equality for all Women Workers!
A dozen women activists from the Mid-Hudson region have issued a Call To Action (see below) for women and men to support and attend the indoor rally, which is sponsored by the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter.

The program is in formation — all speakers and endorsers will be posted soon at Early endorsers include the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation (AFL-CIO), New Paltz Women in Black, the local chapter of Amnesty International, Bard College Student Labor Dialogue, Washbourne House (the Family of Woodstock-affiliated women and children's shelter), Orange County Democratic Women, Ulster County Democratic Women, Progressive Academic Network (PAN) at SUNY NP, the New Paltz campus/community Environmental Task Force, NP Climate Action Coalition, the SUNY NP chapters of NYPIRG and OXFAM, Move to Amend of Ulster County, Department of Sociology at SUNY NP, Peace and Social Progress Now, and Mid-Hudson ANSWER. The SUNY faculty union, UUP, passed a statewide resolution endorsing events honoring IWD and encouraging SUNY campuses to participate. The local UUP executive committee has unanimously endorsed the March 7 event. Many more supporters will endorse.

To volunteer (for leaflet distribution, research, organizing and/or helping out March 7), contact Donna Goodman at To get on our mailing list contact


March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day of solidarity for working women that is celebrated all over the world. It was originally inspired by strikes staged by women garment workers, many of them immigrants, in New York City more than 100 years ago.

This year, women and their allies will gather in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, New Haven, Syracuse, Sacramento, and other cities across the country to honor International Women's Day by demanding an end to violence against women. These actions are being held in response to a call by Women Organized to Resist and Defend (, a national organization that is dedicated to building the struggle for women’s rights and equality for all.

Here in the Hudson Valley, we have joined this national campaign and are holding a public meeting in New Paltz, Thursday, March 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in LC 100 on the SUNY NP campus. We are all local activists who have worked in a wide range of human rights and social justice movements.

We demand: an end to violence against all women -- in the home, on the street and in all public and private spaces;  reproductive justice for all women – including full access to contraception, abortion, health care and child care; a living wage for all, and equity in the workplace, with paid family leave, and an end to sexual harassment at work; and full equality for women in all areas of society. We stand for full equality and respect now and against racism, sexism, anti-LGBT bigotry, and the exploitation and commercialization of women in mass media.

In the United States, 1.3 million women are raped every year. One in every four women experience severe violence at the hands of a current or former partner. Thirty-seven percent of reported rape cases are prosecuted and only 18 percent end in a conviction. Women face intimidation in the workplace. Women in the U.S. military face a record number of sexual assaults. Our sisters in U.S. prisons face horrendous threats and have nowhere to turn. Young women in high schools and on college campuses are regularly forced to contend with intimidation, assault and rape.
Sexual violence against women isn't “normal.” It's not human nature. Oppression against women—the violence, the objectification, the impoverishment and inequality that women experience—isn't just the way it is. It is a function of patriarchy and of institutionalized sexism, of the sexual objectification of women for corporate profit and of a society that tolerates—and often condones—sexual intimidation and violence.
The time is now to rise up and stop sexual violence against women. Last year, the Occupy movements took on the 1%—the wealth owners—and defended the rights of the 99%—the wealth-makers. The year before, a series of revolutionary movements in the Arab world took on oppressive governments in Egypt and Tunisia in the Arab Spring. We need a Women's Spring all over the world. 
From the streets of India to Steubenville, Ohio, mass protests have been organized against sexual violence against women. In both cases, the horrific crimes that were ignored or covered up have sparked an outcry, a rallying cry against a culture and a society that protects victimizers and alienates victims. In India, these protests have galvanized a mass movement. We can do the same.
We hold the power to bring an end to sexual violence. Every one of us can take action and make a difference in building the movement against violence and in support of women’s rights. Every single gain, every single right we as women have today is the result of struggle. We have to fight back. The status quo must go!
Join us in New Paltz on March 7. Ask your organization to endorse this event. Spread the word to your lists, your Facebook friends, your blogs, and all the groups you belong to. Help build a strong, independent, united women’s movement that will fight the right wing assault and protect women’s rights. For more information, to endorse, or to volunteer, contact

Alexandra Cox, SUNY NP  faculty, Sociology
Barbara Cvenic, SUNY NP student, NYPIRG
Donna Goodman, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, United University Professions (AFL-CIO)
Nora Hamond-Gallardo, Pastors for Peace
Terry Leroy, Haitian People's Support Project
Jamie Levato, regional human rights and environmental activist
JoAnne Myers, Marist College faculty, Political Science, Women’s Studies, Ulster Democratic Women
Caitlin O'Donnell, SUNY NP student, environmental activist
Ilgu Ozler, SUNY NP faculty, Amnesty International
Abigail Robin, SUNY NP faculty (Ret.)
Beth Soto, Director, HV Area Labor Federation (AFL-CIO)
Barbara Upton, New Paltz Women in Black
Note: Last August 26, on Women's Equality Day, we organized an outdoor rally in New Paltz that drew 300 people. A five-minute video of the rally and spirited march through town is at: