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International Women’s Day rally draws hundreds to Washington Square Park

Over 300 people rallied in Washington Square Park on Thursday.

Women participate in the International Women's Strike as

Women participate in the International Women's Strike as part of International Women's Day in Washington Square Park on March 8, 2018. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Hundreds of people, creative signs in tow, went on strike to mark International Women’s Day on Thursday.

The organizers of International Women’s Strike NYC called on women in the city to strike from all labor - paid and unpaid - for one hour beginning at 4 p.m.

Roughly 300 people flooded Washington Square Park for a rally related to the strike, which featured speakers from unions, immigrant rights groups and grassroots feminist organizations, among others.

Samantha Johnson, with the group Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, told the crowd she was striking against being “undervalued” and “over policed.”

“As I look out at the crowd I know I am not alone,” she said. 

Johnson then led the group in a chant of, “power, transformation, miracles, I want it, I need it and I gots ta (sic) have it.”

The group of women and some men gathered on the north side of the park. Signs that read, “Demand it all,” "If not now, when?" and “We are visible," were held high.

Teresa Gonzalez, 29, recently moved to the city from Spain. She said the movement in her home country is large and she wanted to feel involved, even if she is far away.

“I felt like even if I’m here I need to do something to support the movement,” the Upper West Side resident said. “Feminism is freedom and there’s a lot of people who still don’t have the freedom to do what they want.”

Looking around at the group, she said: “It gives me hope, but New York is a really big city and I thought more people would be attending today. Women should be together.”

A rally held in Washington Square Park on International Women’s Day in 2017 saw as many as 5,000 attendees, according to the mayor’s office. Another rally held that day outside of Trump International Hotel and Tower resulted in the arrests of 13 people.

Kew Garden Hills resident Angela Ni, 26, works with the Street Vendor Project and said many people in her field are women.

“As a woman I would like there to be more support for women in all walks of life,” she said. "We, as a city, should give more support to women in whatever they want to do or whatever they want to achieve."

The day's events were capped off with a march through lower Manhattan, with stops at places like the site of the shuttered St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center and the nearby New York City AIDS Memorial.

Rally cries – including "Black Lives Matter," "From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go," and "Refugees are welcome here" – swelled through the crowd as they marched through the streets.

International Women’s Day, seen as a global day of action, dates to the early 1900s when a growing movement called for better working conditions and voting rights.

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