Continuing the tradition of previous Women’s Marches in the Quad Cities, QCDSA members and others from the community gathered at Laborers Local 309 in Rock Island to address the injustices women face and how to organize and educate ourselves to create a more equitable world for women. The event began outside with blessing and songs from the Sage Sisters of Solidarity. As the blessing concluded, attendees moved inside for the program.
The program started with Jo Ironshield speaking as an advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). She spoke about how indigenous women and men have gone missing, yet the U.S. Government doesn’t care and she spoke about how the news media doesn’t provide coverage of these stories. She said for women ages 10-24 that the number one cause of death is murder and continued to cite other troubling statistics about the plight of indigenous women. Jo ended her appeal by mentioning the names of women from the area who have died and the asked the audience to hold up red cards that had been passed out saying that each of those cards had the name of someone who had gone missing and asked the audience to reflect on how many people were lost.
The program continued with Sarah Moore from the Illinois Council of Certified Professional Midwives. She spoke about how more and more women are choosing home birth as an option yet legislation to adopt home birthing is frequently blocked by a professional medical association. She continued to say that when a midwife is involved, pregnancies result in less pre-maturity, fewer cesarean sections, and more breastfeeding. If people are interested in learning more they can visit www.illinoismidwifery.org.
The audience then followed as Emily Tobin from the Rock Island Library spoke about library resources to further our understanding of social justice. She mentioned how Young Adult books are good for a shallow dive into subjects such as feminism, refugees, resistance, climate change and activism. She went on to show us different titles of books that cover these subjects including graphic novels.
Next in the program, Camilla Hillard signed about the communication barriers she faces. That she wanted deaf rights and that hearing people shouldn’t look down on deaf people.
The next person visited the group from Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope in Davenport and spoke about healing and hope for survivors. She spoke about domestic violence and her personal experiences about the ineffectiveness of law enforcement and the court system. She then went on to say that she is trying to reform the system by changing no-contact orders to be printed on a card and easier to show to law enforcement. She made the point that while she loves animals we have to ask the question why someone who abused an animal gets a greater sentence than someone who abused their spouse. Argrow’s House of healing and hope also makes products for sale that support the work of the organization.
As the program continued, Amanda Puebla from the Rock Island High School Resource Room spoke about how a classroom at Rocky High helps students with life skills and resources. She went on to say how the resource room provides clothing and hygiene products to students and that when students’ needs are not met, attendance goes down. The room also serves housing insecure students by finding housing and referrals. To provide more resources the room has partnered with Laundry of Love so that students and their families have a place to do laundry as well. Amanda went on to say that the resource room is open every morning before school and that all services are private and confidential.
Next we heard from James Blue from RICO Indivisible and our own Quad Cities DSA Board. James spoke about Health Justice and how the Affordable Care Act is corporate healthcare and not healthcare for all. He said how employers currently determine the healthcare you get and that there are pitfalls to this policy such as in the Hobby Lobby case as an example. He went on to say how the Democratic Socialists of America have been fighting for health justice for a generation. James said we need to look at healthcare differently and that the ways food is produced is a part of healthcare as well as pollution, housing, safe havens, and climate change.
Finally to end the program, the audience welcomed a girls group from Central High School as they performed a spoken word piece, among other topics, dealing with, “The things I had to learn by myself.”
As the Quad Cities DSA continues to grow, we look forward to attending events that recognize diverse groups within our community as we support the Women’s Movement and March. We look forward to supporting this event in the years to come.