In a massive outpouring of support for women’s rights, workers’ rights, and human rights, more than a million people took part in Women’s Marches around the globe on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Their numbers included two dozen members of TWU Local 556’s Working Women’s Committee who joined the 500,000+ strong crowd of people gathered in Washington, D.C., along with TWU members and International staff who marched in the nation’s capital, Houston, and other cities around the country.
While women’s rights were a central theme to the event, the participants also marched in solidarity to support labor rights and human rights, and to demonstrate loud and clear how important it is to have our voices heard and to speak truth to power.
Two Local 556 members, a mother and daughter, came to D.C. to march together. Elizabeth Alexander, from Phoenix, described her experience, saying:
“I came to D.C. to march for women’s rights. I left reminded that women come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexual orientations. The number of women (and men) was overwhelming. I learned the true meaning of women’s rights are human rights...pretty simple. To be able to share this experience with my daughter and to have her see first-hand what the TWU Working Women’s Committee can do was incredible. She is just barely starting her journey in this career, and just learning about the contract and the union. What better way to get involved than by just jumping right in?”
Her daughter, Ashley Magliocco, from Chicago, agreed:
“Neither my mom nor I had ever really ‘rolled up our sleeves’ and been involved politically. We both admitted to being nervous before the trip. As I reflect now I know that we both grew from this experience. I feel empowered to continue to push myself in this arena. Ask questions. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Learn to listen to those who might not agree with you. We were both challenged to have difficult conversations with strangers, and I see now the power in the solidarity of doing it with your union sisters behind you.”
Chair of the Working Women’s Committee, Gwen York, also weighed in on her experience at the march in Washington:
“It was a melting pot of activism, and the very embodiment of inclusion. Every possible demographic, interest group and age were represented—men, veterans, environmentalists, immigrants, educators, and students all marched with us, standing up for the rights of everyone to express their voice, which is exactly what trade unionism is about.”
As a union with an increasingly diverse membership from across the political spectrum, TWU remains proud of our long, historic commitment to civil and human rights, and congratulates our members on taking action to make their voices heard.