March like a girl, fight for the rest

By Divya Amladi
Oxfam staff Nic Serhan, Divya Amladi, Samantha Sheridan, Amy Loper, and Alivelu Ramisetty march on the Boston Common as part of the 2019 Boston Women's March on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Photo: Coco McCabe/Oxfam

On Saturday, January 19, Oxfam staff and supporters joined women around the world in advocating for gender equality at Women's Marches in Boston and Washington, D.C.

The 2019 marches marked the third year local and national groups organized to change the women around the world are treated.

Oxfam has long championed the rights of women and girls. Globally, women and girls make up the majority of the 1.2 billion people who live in extreme poverty. We believe that ending the injustice of poverty begins with equal rights. When we gathered in Boston and Washington, D.C., we came to show that a fair and just world is within sight, and can be achieved when we come together to push for change, and empower women who face an unfair burden instead of speaking for them. 

In Boston, frigid temperatures and a looming snow storm couldn't deter the thousands of attendees who turned out to show their solidarity for civil rights, religious freedom, immigrant and refugee rights, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, economic justice, reproductive justice, climate justice, workers' rights, indigenous rights, and support for victims of gender violence—in short, the crowd rallied and marched in the name of human rights. 

We heard from a coalition of intersectional female voices, including representatives from United American Indians of New England, Brazilian Worker Center, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, the NAACP, and ACLU, and elected officials, such as Wakefield Town Council Mehreen Butt and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Pressely, the keynote speaker, acknowledged the weather and urging those gathered to stay on, saying, "I know it's cold out here, but the pursuit of justice is uncomfortable and inconvenient."

Our rally cry was amplified by the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians (BABAM), who marched alongside the Oxfam contingent and lifted the spirits of everyone along the march route.

And in Washington, D.C., Oxfammers joined another crowd of thousands at the national march at the Freedom Plaza. Speakers included furloughed federal employees, fomer Senator Nina Turner, and leaders of national organizations.

Isra Chaker, Oxfam's refugee campaign lead, made national news for her message: "We the future will not be banned." 

"No one is free when some are opressed," was the message of the day, a message that echoes Oxfam's work to fight for the rights of women everywhere. 

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