Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aimee E Dewaal represented Philadelphia NOW at the International Women's Dayrally


Congratulations to Sherrie Cohen and the International Women's Day Committee for the wonderful celebration of International Women's Day on Sunday March 8.

Aimee E Dewaal represented Philadelphia NOW at the rally. Here is a transcript of Aimee’s inspirational speech:


International Women’s Day is a celebration of women from around the world. This event has taken place every year for about one hundred years. In 1909 the first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28th. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York. On March 25th, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in the United States. On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. And In 1913, International Women's Day was transferred to March 8th and has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine, Vietnam and more.

International Women’s Day is the time to celebrate dynamic women like Mary Harris Jones who is known as Mother Jones. She organized children working in mills and mines in the "Children's Crusade", a march from Kensington, Pennsylvania to Oyster Bay, New York, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt with banners demanding "We want to go to School and not the mines!" the incident brought the issue of child labor to the public’s attention. Mother Jones was also involved in the rail strike of 1877, in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, and she organized the coal fields of Pennsylvania in 1899.

On this day we celebrate the many women who have fought for women’s rights so that today, women can have executive positions and women can now be elected to office. But we cannot forget that there is still a great need for change in the world. Equality still does not exist for all of our sisters. Today we have the opportunity to create more positive change for women. All of us come here with different backgrounds and issues. But what unites us is that we are all women. And as women, we must unite to create change in the world. We cannot solve our issues alone. As Patrick Henry said, “United we stand, divided we fall”.

Take advantage of this day. Get to know one another, seek out the resources that surround you. We can network and fight for each other’s causes. International Women’s Day is a celebration of those women who have paved the way for us, but it is also a celebration of the freedom we have to progress the women’s movement even further. Mother Jones said, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living! Now let’s enjoy our day, International Women’s Day! Thank you!

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