The Party for Socialism and Liberation, along with Students for Socialism, ANSWER Coalition and the People’s Housing Project, held a rally to support women's rights issues on Tuesday, March 8 in front of the University of New Mexico bookstore. The rally coincided with this year’s International Women’s Day.
The primary focus of the rally was abortion rights. One of the event’s organizers, Margaux Lopez, a member of the party for Socialism and Liberation, shed light on the effect of abortion bans on the transgender and nonbinary community and the difficulties that members in these communities face in relation to reproductive health services.
“It's absolutely critical that we don't forget to include the trans community in this discussion ... After six weeks, a cisgender woman has barely missed her period. But when you add in hormone replacement therapy, transgender men and nonbinary folks can easily miss menstruation and think nothing of it,” Lopez said.
Ramona Malczynski, a Ph.D. student studying geography at UNM and member of the graduate student union said the U.S. is not the only nation fighting for global abortion rights.
“Women and people in Mexico are offering solidarity and support to people in Texas who want to access abortions ... Working people across the world are always in solidarity with each other for liberation,” Malczynski said.
Speaker Kimberly Wahpeton, a victim of human trafficking, emphasized the struggles of Indiginous women with sexual violence.
“We have a higher rate in New Mexico, Gallup and Albuquerque of native women that are sexually assaulted and raped every single day ... It's a higher rate than any other race. More people need to educate (themselves) and know where the root of it is (in order) to stop it,” Wahpeton said.
Anna Lee Desaulniers, an organizer with the People’s Housing Project, said the wage gap negatively affects women, and she hopes for a more equitable future.
“Our government's desire to control our bodies is not just … We're still being treated as second-class humans,” Desaulniers said. “I don't want a feminist shirt from Forever 21. I want to close the pay gap and earn a living wage.”
Angelina Crowley, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said prison systems in New Mexico and the broader U.S. “disregards men's and women's health care.”
“The prison system especially targets working-class women in a racist and a classist fashion,” Crowley said. “Women may be incarcerated for missing a court date they didn't know about or for killing their rapists or abusers.”
Brenna Giannini, a member of Students for Socialism at UNM, a group that helped organize the rally, emphasized how important it is that student’s become involved in politics and the urgency of women’s rights issues.
“Students on college campuses, we’re often disregarded for political issues. But … it's such a pivotal time of our lives to start getting interested in politics,” Giannini said. “I hope that people realize that the government doesn't decide when our struggle for women's rights ends, and as long as we band together and we're militant about it, then we can make real change.”
People should be able to live well no matter their choices in regards to childbearing, according to Desaulniers.
“I want every woman on the street and living in horrific conditions to be able to live a dignified life whether she decides to bear children or not,” Desaulniers said.
Elizabeth Secor is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @esecor2003