1199ers Join Massive NYC Women’s March

January 25, 2017

On Jan. 20, Midtown Manhattan belonged to the 400,000 women and men who flooded the city’s streets and unequivocally declared their support for women’s rights and equality. The New York march, while massive, was only one of scores across the country and the world called to promote the rights of women as well as others that have been targeted by the Trump administration.

“Donald Trump as well as people in Congress, is out of touch with working people,” said Patricia O’Hara, a home health aide for NYC’s Partners in Care agency. O’Hara, a cancer survivor, carried a pink-background 1199SEIU sign that read: “Committed to Protecting the Health and Rights of Women.” She was there because she is committed to fight for those who will suffer the most under the current administration.

Although organizers of the marches, including the main march in Washington D.C., noted that the marches were not billed as anti-Trump demonstrations, they were called to "send a bold message to our new administration on its first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights."

Marchers represented the spectrum of differences that make up society including, ethnicity, race, gender, generation, family status and ability. A sea of bright and artistic placards reflected the issues concerning many citizens as the new administration takes office: immigrant rights, climate justice, civil rights, health care, civil liberties, education, workers’ rights and economic justice. Marchers also carried signs that reflected their resolve to flex their political muscle. One read, “Run, Girl Run! For Political Office!” Many poked fun at the new president. “Weak Men Fear Strong Women.” Marchers and speakers at a pre-march rally emphasized the attacks on services and programs for working people and the poor disproportionately affect women. “I’m here to say that we can’t go back,” declared April Louis, a CNA at Dewitt Nursing Home in Manhattan. Accompanying Louis to the March were her granddaughter Serenity Anderson, 6, and goddaughter Jaja Davis, 9.

“I want to show my girls that by uniting and demonstrating is how we can win our rights,” she Louis.

Barbara Rodriguez, a home health aide for Elder Service Home Care in New York City, brought her granddaughter Destiny Guerrero, age 13. “No man or government has the right to control our bodies,” Rodriguez said as she marched with 1199SEIU’s purple-clad contingent. 1199ers carried bright pink signs celebrating women leaders of the labor movement. Rodriguez added that she was demonstrating for four generations of family members, including her mother, children, and grandchildren.

“I’m also marching to defend programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Planned Parenthood,” affirmed Rodriguez.