NEWS

'A Day Without A Woman' Was A Day Of Activism Across The Country

The nation goes red.

09/03/2017 2:57 AM IST | Updated 09/03/2017 10:33 AM IST

Here are the women you missed.

Cities across the country were awash in red on Wednesday as thousands gathered to show support for International Women’s Day.  

The rallies ― which mobilized men and women in New York, California, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., among other states ― was part of “A Day Without A Woman,” which organizers described as a day of “economic solidarity.” 

mayoredlee/Instagram
At San Francisco City Hall, hundreds gather to honor International Women's Day on Wednesday.

Women were encouraged to take the day off and strike to “highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies,” Women’s March organizers said. Many people wore red to show their support for the movement

The strikes were similar to last month’s A Day Without Immigrants, a nationwide protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown. 

The strike in New York City began as early as noon, starting in Central Park before moving to Trump International Hotel, and later to Washington Square Park.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators lift their signs outside Trump Hotel during the Day Without a Woman strike in Manhattan.
Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
New York City's Washington Square Park is packed for the women's strike on Wednesday.

Maribeth Whitehouse, 53, a middle school special education teacher in the Bronx, said she took a personal day from work to attend her first-ever strike.

“Attending this strike is something you have to wrestle with as a teacher, because you’re leaving your students for a day. But teachers use many ways to instruct, including teacher modeling,” Whitehouse said. “And today I’m modeling social justice for my students.”

She said she has noticed an uptick in hateful speech among some students ever since Trump was elected. Other kids, she said, came to school after the election in tears because they were afraid of the future.

“They’re worried about their parents being deported, or separated from their relatives,” she said. Some parents have started calling her on the phone for teacher meetings rather than showing up in person because they worry about being taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, she added.

Some of the organizers of the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington were arrested outside Trump Hotel in Manhattan after engaging in civil disobedience ― cops had demanded they get off the street, and they refused.

The crowds in Los Angeles and outside San Francisco’s city hall were gargantuan.

“Today you saw such a cross-section of people of all different ages, people of all different colors, people of all different sexual orientations, people of all different socioeconomic statuses,” Shannon Craine of San Francisco told The Huffington Post. “It really doesn’t matter, we’re all here for the same kind of reasons. We all care about women’s rights. … There’s some things we’re just not willing to negotiate about.”

She said she’s been keeping a list of “20 to 30 issues” that she calls Congress about every day. 

“I think they’re just kind of waiting for us to lose interest,” she said. “Steve Bannon even made a comment about how he’s waiting for this to die out due to apathy, and I don’t see that happening. I think a lot of people are very serious about this and not willing to watch their country be destroyed by Trump and his agenda.”

#internationalwomensday

A post shared by Michelle Marie Barnett (@michellemarieb1) on

In Chicago, roughly 400 people gathered Wednesday evening at the headquarters of the Chicago Teachers Union. They represented an array of groups: minimum-wage activists Fight for 15, local teachers, health care and transit union members, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, and immigrant rights and anti-racism groups.

Scott Olson via Getty Images
The International Women's Day rally carries into the night in Chicago.

Chloe Stratton, 33, said she attended Wednesday’s rally in part to promote transgender inclusion at the events organized by the coalition behind the Women’s March.

Stratton, a trans woman, said she was “terrified and angry” in the wake of Trump’s recent order that rescinded federal protections for transgender students. “It’s even harder for those young students — as you grow older, you learn how to cope with these things. But for a kid, it’s just so hard.”

Despite the actions and remarks by the Trump administration that have raised concerns among many women, a feeling of determination was widespread at the rally.

“He just makes me stronger,” said Stratton, who plans to speak at a women’s rally Sunday in Chicago. “Everything he does just makes me want to fight harder.”

 

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that he has “tremendous respect for women.”

His comments quickly backfired as the internet community reminded him of his hypocrisy.

Trump was also on blast for a now-infamous video in which he advocated for sexually assaulting women and bragged that he tried to have sex with a married woman.

When you’re famous, Trump said, “you can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”

On Wednesday, women showed they weren’t having it. The processions were partly a show of solidarity against sentiments like Trump’s, as well as a soapbox for women who have gone unheard for far too long.

“When you find your voice, you never want to shut up,” said Bree Washington, 26, in Los Angeles. “I feel like we’ve come full circle ― that we’re still fighting on issues from the ‘60s like equal pay for women. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself, for my grandmothers, for my mother, for myself.”

It would appear even Lady Liberty participated in the strike. The statue went dark for two hours Tuesday night in what the National Park Service called an “unplanned outage” while repair work was done. But we like to think the real reason was out of solidarity for her fellow women.

This article has been updated with more details from rallies.

Sebastian Murdock reported from New York. Antonia Blumberg reported from Los Angeles. Lydia O’Connor reported from San Francisco.

Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
An International Women's Day rally at Washington Square Park in New York.
Also on HuffPost
2017 International Women's Day Around The World

More On This Topic