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Women Around the World Unite for International Women’s Day

• By Julio Marquez - March 26, 2010

“How many people know about the oppression in the Middle East?” asked a guest speaker to Locke named Susan. No one’s hands rose up. The attentive faces dwelled on the question as the Iranian guest speaker recapitulated.

“International Women’s Day is a celebration for women, for all girls. You are our future.” The words resonated in the back of students’ minds.

Susan told the students of the hardships she faced while in Iran. Because she was active in the struggle for women, she was imprisoned over five times. Her husband was executed as was most of her family. Soon, she had to leave her children.

Similarly, guest speaker Tina gave her story of what she witnessed in Iran.

“From when you are a young child up to college, the classes are separated, and even then, women must sit in the back of the class while men sit in the front,” she said.

Women around the world still suffer from oppression, degradation  and objectification.

“When a man dies, they burn his wife,” said Susan. “She is his property and is useless once he dies.”

The weekend was a weekend dedicated to being active in the struggle for rights for women. Through marches like on March 6th and classroom presentations and a CS/A presentation in Hobb’s Hall on March 8th, students were engaged in an ongoing struggle for women’s rights.

March 8th became International Women’s Day (IWD) as opposition to the Iranian fundamentalist regime which assumed power in the 70’s. Students from Locke’s Mind Pollution collective participated in the march two days prior. Though rain would turn most away, the weekend seemed to be perfect for the protestors.

“I don’t think it’s right to keep women down,” shared senior Wilber Vega who joined protestors on Saturday. As the rain poured down, chants shot out like thunder under the torch lit skies.

“I decided to march because it makes sense to want to make everyone equal,” said Isaiyas Jimenez who attended both the march and the classroom presentations in 3-D art teacher Mr. Thomas’ art class.

“It was pretty cool that the speakers came, but I don’t think many in the third period presentation reacted well when the subject of homosexuality came about. People were simple minded and went with their own opinions. It’s nonsense,” Isaiyas said.

Despite the unruly kids in his third period, Mr. Thomas says, “It’s important to introduce people to different countries. This presentation provided more accessible information to students and the chance to ask questions freely.”

Among the guest speakers brought by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Mind Pollution Collective to Locke high school was an Iranian speaker named Tina.

“In the streets of Tehran, kids your age are fighting the system. It’s not for my things but for a different and better world,” states Tina.

Many protestors have been jailed, beaten and even killed. As a direct response to the stemming global problem, many groups marched together and held discussions to celebrate women’s struggle for independence.

As many kids recognized the parallels with the Iranian struggle and segregation, guest speaker and Revolution Newspaper writer Sunsara Taylor commented, “it’s different here, but when women are oppressed anywhere, they are oppressed everywhere.”

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women everywhere, whether it is your mother, sister, aunt, cousin or friend. As the slogan of the day went, “Break the chains unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution.”