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March Celebrates International Women

DENVER MARCH FOR MIGRANT WOMEN DOWNTOWN

Tables were lined with posters stating “Solidaridad con Migrantes y Refugiados” and “Women Together Stand with All Refugee Families.” Busy women offered attendees food and water bottles before the marched from Centro Humanitario, a day laborer center, to the Capital began.

Centro Humanitario on March 11 was bustling with the excitement that often comes along with group acts such as the International Women’s Day Walk in Solidarity With Migrant Women and Families.

To some, International Women’s Day is a celebration—a homage to how far women’s rights have come in recent years and how wonderful it can be to embrace womanhood. To others, however, the day only highlights a sweat-filled, blood-laden struggle to simply be accepted as a human being. For the immigrant and refugee population, the latter is a much more real International Women’s Day.

The march was led by staffers of the day laborer center. “Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores is a place to come for support in getting a job, protection against wage theft and any other abuse against workers,” said Nancy Rosas, leadership development and campaign director at Centro Humanitario. “We also believe that day laborers and domestic workers are agents of change for global justice. The theme of our walk is around International Women’s Day. We are walking for immigration justice.”

The march stretched across the downtown area, where busy construction workers, men in suits walking briskly with tall lattes, and women in pumps sneaking in one last cigarette before returning to work, lined the streets. Some rolled their eyes at the inconvenience of the large group’s presence—others offered empathetic looks and nods of approval.

This movement started with the 100 Women 100 Miles Pilgrimage, which took place in September on the East Coast when over 100 women walked from New York and Pennsylvania to Washington DC as an act of solidarity among immigrant and refugee families.

The entirety of the march in Denver was filled with steady chants and songs, both in English and Spanish. Celeste Martinez, who participated in the 100 Women 100 Miles Pilgrimage, took the lead of the group, shouting into a megaphone words of inspiration.

“I will continue to walk millions of miles if necessary until we achieve dignity, justice, and liberation,” Martinez said.

When the group reached the Capitol, they stood proudly on the steps, each voicing their own reasons for marching.

Another woman, Kristin Hersh, spoke from the perspective of a US born citizen. “I walked today because, where I grew up, there was not a lot of talk about immigration and there was not a lot of tolerance for people being equal,” Hersh said. “Nobody talked about that. It was money and big business and everyone was close minded and unhappy. All people deserve rights, and freedom, and happiness, and to be with their families. I’m blown away by the fact that, in our country, there are some people who can’t seem to understand that.”

What became evident at the International Women’s Day Walk in Solidarity, was that the women who attended did so for one underlying reason: To be seen as human beings by their community and government, not, as Rosas puts it, “as pieces in a political game.” “Somos personas?”—are we people?— one woman shouts to the crowd. “Si!”

Centro Humanitario

2260 California St.

(303) 292-4115

Mon-Fri: 6 a.m.–2 p.m.

Website

—Mariah Taylor

Above: Women marched on March 11 for International Women’s Day.

photo: Nicole Elizabeth • CU Denver Sentry

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