Gender and Sexuality Column

Thompson: Women’s rally at Syracuse University united women of all colors and types under an umbrella of hope

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

Amy Quichiz, president of Students Advocating Sexual Safety and Empowerment, said the rally promoted women's rights and the adoption of a sanctuary campus at SU.

The women’s rally held Wednesday on Syracuse University’s Quad was a refreshing change of pace from the infuriating conversations surrounding women’s rights and advocacy happening on Capitol Hill. It was a setting that encouraged women of color, queer women, disabled women and undocumented women to utilize their voices without being drowned out in a sea of white feminism.

The Women’s Day Sanctuary Campus Rally was one of thousands women’s rallies that were held across 60 United States cities and 30 different countries around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day, bringing new meaning to the expression “We can do it.”

International Women’s Day, celebrated each year on March 8, is designed to commemorate the contributions made by women throughout the world’s history, from civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, to the first woman in space, Sally Ride.

In response to the sexist, propagandist political culture promoted under President Donald Trump, Wednesday’s rally built off the momentum of January’s Women’s March on Washington, highlighting the political injustices targeting women’s rights and livelihoods by the current Washington, D.C., establishment. While some criticized the Women’s March for promoting whitewashed, mainstream feminism, Wednesday’s festivities were designed to celebrate and draw attention to the injustices plaguing minority women — specifically, undocumented and queer women.

“We wear red today to show the revolutionary love that we have for each other, and the love that means action,” said Amy Quichiz, an SU student who is president of Students Advocating Sexual Safety and Empowerment, at the rally. “Today, we are rallying for women’s rights, and also to create a sanctuary campus.”

The rally’s topics varied from abortion and equal wages to disability rights and socialism, and the rally also featured conversations surrounding undocumented immigration, directly calling out Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Quichiz, the daughter of two undocumented immigrants, said the necessity for a sanctuary campus at SU is more imperative now than ever before.

“As a queer, brown Latina, I am privileged to be a first-generation U.S. citizen, having parents who came to this country ‘illegally,’ and now have the residency to stay in this country,” she said.

Campus attendees of the rally also directed aim at SU Chancellor Kent Syverud, who has yet to call the university a sanctuary campus. Syverud’s silence is in direct contrast to Mayor Stephanie Miner’s declaration of Syracuse as a sanctuary city. One rallier referenced the email Syverud sent to the student body about his dog’s death, saying, “When will we be important enough to be addressed in an email?”

This rally was for all women: women old and young; black and white; Asian and native; Hispanic and Latina. For lesbian women, bisexual women, transgender women and non-binary folks. It was for poor women, uneducated women, illiterate women and incarcerated women. It was a moment of silence for the women we’ve lost in the long and winding road to justice, signifying both the progress that has been made and the multitude left to go.

That is what democracy looks like: A congregation of women from differing backgrounds with unique and varied aspirations and dreams, united under hope.

And damn, do we wear it well.

Kelsey Thompson is a sophomore magazine journalism major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at katho101@syr.edu.

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