Women of color play crucial role in April 25 march

Opinion

During these critical times, it has come to the point when we must “do or die.” We are at the brink of an intense election. The Bush administration is attacking civil liberties, affirmative action, and women’s rights everywhere, and the conservative right wing is holding women’s rights hostage by a small federal margin. It’s time for every fighter in the women’s liberation movement to take up the battle.

This means fighters of all ethnicities, classes, ages, and sexualities. We need every activist to fight against our current political tyranny. The Bush administration is violating human rights indiscriminately. Women of color and low-income families are disproportionately affected by systematic oppression, and this administration has abused the LGBT community in countless ways. If we don’t unify and mobilize across these divisive barriers – soon we will not have any rights to defend.

The National Organization for Women is building coalitions and recruiting and training activists in all communities. This author, a NOW National Action Center field organizer, is coordinating a new Freedom Feminist Project, which has two divisions – academic and community. The academic portion involves educating and organizing in the historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and community colleges. Howard University is one of our many success stories. The project also involves organizing in the local urban high schools in Washington, D.C., which are 95-99 percent students of color.

The community portion involves cementing our relationships with national women of color organizations so that those alliances trickle down to our local and state chapters. NOW Vice President-Action Olga Vives recently spoke at the national conference on Women of Color Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (co-sponsored by NOW with SisterSong), about the challenges and importance of organizing women of color. There were over 500 people representing organizations working with women of color. We received a lot of feedback and an overwhelming concurrence for the need for such an historical women of color network.

The National Action Center Field Organizers are also working to bring together the hip hop community, domestic violence shelters, affordable housing communities, women in prison, immigrant, indigenous, and migrant populations, and homeless shelters to make sure that every activist is equipped with the resources to fight for reproductive and social justice.

The movement will take visual form on April 25, when we march on Washington to demand reproductive righteousness for women and families of all diverse backgrounds. NOW President Kim Gandy said, “We have to fight for our rights. No one is going to give them to us.”

It’s NOW or never. The system has taken freedom as a political prisoner – and we must decide whether she lives or dies. On April 25, we are going to scream unity and justice. Be sure join the rank of fighters for the women’s liberation movement as we take back our freedom!



Nitche Ward is a field organizer for the National Organization for Women. This article is reprinted from NOW’s web site, www.now.org.