Justice, Not Flowers! — 5 Ways to Mark this International Women’s Day

Bunny gives fox a pot of flower. Russian text says Happy March 8th!

A shy fox receives her Women’s Day gift in a kitschy Soviet postcard for March 8th

I grew up in a Russian family, where March 8th, International Women’s Day, has always been a big deal. There is a strong expectation in Russian culture that men give flowers to the women in their lives on this day—wives, girlfriends, grandmothers, colleagues, and so on. But as I’ve grown up, become a feminist and an organizer, I’m more and more interested in the demand that women all over the world make every March 8th: we want gender justice and an end to patriarchy—not flowers, retail sales, and empty platitudes on one day of the year.

In that spirit, here are 5 things to read, study, think about, and show solidarity with this International Women’s Day:

1) From Czarny Protest to Marzo 8 Paro de Mujeres!

Last October, Polish women led two mass strikes against the criminalization of abortion in their country, known as the Czarny (black) Protests. The strikes led to connections with movements in Argentina, South Korea, and around the world, and the March 8th 2017 International Women’s Strike was born. The call to action currently includes events in 35 countries. To learn more, visit the bilingual English and Spanish website, especially the section on the movement’s history.

2) Lean in or smash the patriarchy?

“Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us,” say Angela Davis, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and six other women who advocated for a strike on March 8th across the United States in this article. They insist that today’s feminism must be a feminism for the 99%. You can get logistical information about US-based actions on the Women’s March on Washington Facebook page.

3) Anniversary of the Assassination of Berta Caceres

Berta Caceres, an Indigenous Lenca woman from Honduras, was a leader of environmental and social movements in Honduras and co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). After years of threats and attacks, she was assassinated on March 3rd, 2016—but as the United States-based organization Grassroots Global Justice Alliance says of Berta’s murder: “Berta didn’t die, she multiplied!” Watch the video below of GGJ’s Justice for Berta campaign, which seeks to hold the US government accountable for its role in Honduran state violence, and makes connections between grassroots feminism, protecting the Earth, and militarism at home and abroad. (And check out a blog post from GGJ one year after Berta’s death.)

4) Say Her Name

Last month, three Black trans women were murdered in Louisiana: Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, and Jaquarrius Holland. Black trans women and trans women of color face incredibly high levels of violence, supported by a mainstream culture and legislative landscape that dehumanize trans women. To learn more, read this recent piece by Chicago youth activist Eva Lewis in Teen Vogue, which also discusses the Say Her Name campaign started by the African-American Policy Forum. (A content warning: The article and video at this link contain information and footage of severe violence.) This March 8th, consider donating to or committing to volunteering at an organization that works on the frontlines of this issue, like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, or a local group in your area.

Two Black women stand in an embrace, smiling. Text says "Remember Trans Power. Fight for Trans Lives"

A cropped image of artwork by Micah Bazant: micahbazant.com

5) Native Nations Rise

Promotional image for Native Nations Rise: March on Washington, 3/10/17This isn’t an International Women’s Day event—but these issues are deeply interwoven, and this crucial event is taking place March 7–10 in Washington, D.C. Over the course of this week, a grassroots Indigenous tipi gathering will be held in front of the White House, with a march led by the Standing Rock Sioux nation on Friday, March 10th. The Native Nations Rise website includes digital resources to share with your networks if you’re not in D.C.

This post is by Darya Marchenkova of TESA Collective. TESA builds tools and programs for your cause. Read about our work and check out our store for movement-building tools like Rise Up: The Game of People & Power.

The photo of the Czarny Protest is by Marcin Kucewicz.

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