CROWD: …(chanting)… this is what democracy looks like, this is…
PROTEST SPEAKER: …I’m here, living in the District of Columbia, where I work at the tipped minimum wage at $2.77 an hour…
PROTEST SPEAKER: …Welcome to the nation’s capital!
JAISAL NOOR: I’m Jaisal Noor reporting for The Real News Network; here in Washington, D.C. It’s being called A Day Without a Woman. Around the United States and the world, tens of thousands of women are going on strike, or otherwise marking International Women’s Day, by acts of resistance, and for racial, economic and social justice. Actions are being held in almost every major U.S. city, and dozens of countries around the world.
CROWD: …(women protesters chanting in Spanish)…
POLICE: …you will be placed under arrest, and charged with disorderly conduct. This is the New York City Police Department… You are unlawfully in a roadway obstructing…
JAISAL NOOR: Several organizers of the Women’s March were arrested carrying out civil disobedience, including Linda Sarsour, in New York City.
Schools are out today, after a large number of teachers called out of work in neighboring Prince George’s County, Fairfax, Virginia, North Carolina, among other school districts. While municipal courts are closed in Providence, Rhode Island.
We’re here at an Action Organize at the Department of Labor. We’re speaking to participants, and featured speakers, about why they’re here today and what their demands are.
CROWD: …(chanting)…our labor! our labor!…
AMELIA BRADSHAW: Women of color, they may not be the face of these type of things, but I feel like they do a lot, just on a day-to-day basis. Because there is a lot, just difference between, like, a white woman and woman of color. Like, specifically a pay gap, like for men, white women have a 77 cent difference, while the black women specifically have a 64 cent difference from a white man. So, it’s really more of a struggle for black women.
JAISAL NOOR: What role do white women play in this movement? The majority of white women that voted, voted for Donald Trump, even though he ran an openly racist, xenophobic, and sexist campaign. You know, there’s tapes released that showed him bragging about sexual assault.
AISHA BARNES: I think what white women can do, is to understand that we are all women. So, you need to support not just women that look like you, but women of other sexual orientation. Women of other colors, women of other religions, because we’re all women. We’re all going through the same thing, and we need to band together, and have support for each other, solidarity with each other, to make change.
POROTEST SPEAKER: We work for the largest retailer in the world. And for us to work for a wage that does not support our families, where we have to choose between bills and food, where we have to continue to put our kids in childcare facilities that are not quality childcare.
For us to have to go to work sick, when we need to take care of ourselves at home, so we can take care of our families. For us to be denied of sick time policy that covers Wal-Mart families, when they claim to be a family-oriented facility is just disrespectful. And we want it to end today! We want respect today!
SARU JAYARAMAN: It’s not acceptable! And we are here standing for one fair wage, to get rid of that ridiculously minimum wage for tipped workers. But also to resist the Trump agenda!
We work hard. We have to lead a coalition of folks that got Trump’s first Secretary of Labor nominee out, Andy Puzder, and we won!
But here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter who else he nominates, we will still resist. It doesn’t matter how reasonable the other person is, or how much less crazy they are, we’re still gonna resist! Because we need so much more than we’ve gotten, not just in the last year, not in the last five years, or the last ten years, but for the last couple of centuries!
We need… we need one fair wage. We need it all. We need to keep resisting!
JAISAL NOOR: We spoke to Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United. This is supposed to be an International Women’s strike, A Day Without Women. You’re out here as a leader of a union, but do you think this can be successful without widespread participation of many, many labor unions?
JEAN ROSS: I think it will be successful, in that any large group of people, at least if it gets you know, media attention, gets people to sit up and take notice, and to really think about what a day without us would be like.
JAISAL NOOR: And so, today the media’s covering the rift in the GOP, between the faction that wants to completely do away with Obamacare, and the proposal that Paul Ryan and others, are supporting, that would cut subsidies for the poorest people and give, I think, $600 million in tax breaks to the wealthy. Where do you stand in that debate?
JEAN ROSS: Well, we would support not doing away with the ACA until you can do something better. But we have always been strong proponents of a new and improved Medicare for all. Medicare is a great system, it works, people understand it, people like it. It’s never… Whatever healthcare system we have in his country, we don’t have one right now. I don’t care about the ACA, it’s not a healthcare system; it’s a medical care system.
So, the only thing that will truly take care of everybody, and make sure that they have health care, not health insurance, is Medicare for all. So, we’ve always been fighting for that, and we will continue.
JAISAL NOOR: And talk about why this is especially an important issue for women, the issue of access to affordable healthcare.
JEAN ROSS: Well, I think women are affected more by it. You can have a partner, or a husband without a job, but women right now are — what are they — 70% of the workforce, I believe. And so it’s going to hit them harder. Plus they make less — wrong, but true. And so, they are going to be more effected by it.
JAISAL NOOR: For all of our coverage on International Women’s Day, go to therealnews.com
With Cameron Granadino this is Jaisal Noor.