Black Women’s Blueprint Marched with NYC4CEDAW and Demanded Gender Equity in NYC
Women’s organizations standing on the steps of City Hall during the NYC4CEDAW Day of Action.
On June 28th, Black Women’s Blueprint kicked off a summer of organizing with the NYC4CEDAW Day of Action, where we marched with dozens of organizations dedicated to securing women’s rights based on the human rights Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Chants led primarily by Ericka Dixon, Black Women’s Blueprint’s Policy Programs Coordinator like, “End violence against women! Women’s rights are human rights!” demanded safety, economic equity, and educational opportunities for women. With the support of over 230 women, including the Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn Diana Reyna, and Public Advocate Letitia James the voices of CEDAW reverberated from the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall.
Upon our arrival to City Hall, the rally only picked up steam as we were joined by like minded social justice organizations including the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Domestic Workers United, and New York City Council member Laurie Cumbo. As representatives from the NYC government gave poignant speeches delineating the significance of the demanded NYC Gender Equity Bill based on CEDAW, member organizations and their allies held up banners on the steps of City Hall in solemn solidarity. Closing the rally off, BWB’s Ericka Dixon reminded us to “Fight for women!” before the crowd erupted with rapture.
The aim of the NYC4CEDAW campaign is to pass a NYC Bill of Women’s rights, a municipal policy which would ensure a clampdown on gender-based discrimination against women on the local level and require the Government of NYC to protect the human rights of all New Yorkers. The proposed legislation would require a gender analysis of all City agencies, a participatory oversight body and secured funding. As the NYC4CEDAW website states:
“We are working together to pass a New York City ordinance based on CEDAW, fostering laws and policies that advance equality for women and address all forms of gender discrimination:
Equal pay for equal work
Stopping violence against women and girls, including domestic and intimate-partner violence
Access to affordable, safe housing
Health and social services responsive to specific needs of women and girls
Education curricula for girls’ success including STEM (Science-Technology-Math-Engineering)”
Given the social and political climate for Black women, it has never been more pertinent to pass a law that would bolster current social movements determined to eradicate the brutalization, economic disenfranchisement, and political repression of Black women. When our access to quality reproductive services are being jeopardized, our children are being funneled into the criminal justice system through the sexual abuse to prison pipeline, and our sisters are being sexually and physically assaulted at the hands of the police, we demand justice. When Black transwomen are simultaneously being erased by the State and criminalized by law enforcement officials, we demand justice. When Black women survivors are being silenced in HBCU’s that proclaim their institutions provide a safer space for learning, we demand justice. When Black mothers are dying at disproportionate rates during childbirth, we demand justice. When the sexuality of Black women and girls are continuously policed and scrutinized from within and from outside of our communities, we demand justice. As necessary as CEDAW is, the implementation of this ordinance is merely a stepping stone. This work must continue in our own communities, and it begins by holding Black men and other community members accountable for the endemic and systemic violence inflicted onto Black women.
This summer, Black Women’s Blueprint is preparing to take our voices to D.C, to center the plight of Black women, to demand an immediate shift in the social, economic, and political status of Black women survivors in the United States. We will stand in solidarity with our fellow survivors to disrupt the narrative of racial justice circles which are complicit in the sexual and physical abuse of Black women. On September 30th, 2017, Black women are demanding our own space in the conversation surrounding Black liberation during the March for Black Women, an intentional counter-march to the March for Racial Justice scheduled on the same day. We refuse to have our voices muddied and our stories erased. With our arms linked and our hearts full, the true sound of the fight against white supremacy will fill the streets of Washington.
For more updates on the March for Black Women, please stay connected with our event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/665201540335608/
To donate to our fundraiser for the March, click the following link: https://www.crowdrise.com/the-march-for-black-women1