Youth host Women’s Fightback Conference


By Mary Tamburro
Raleigh, N.C.
Published Nov 9, 2006

Young people from North Carolina and three other states gathered together on Nov. 4 to have a conference with the goal “to push the struggle against gender oppression to the very front of the social justice movement—to look at where we are, how we relate to each other, and how to move forward.” The Women’s Fightback Conference reached and exceeded this goal with the help of youth from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, local Raleigh high schools, the Socialist Unity League of UNC at Asheville, the N.C. Green Party, and Raleigh FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together).

This conference brought together 95 people of many ages, genders, sexualities and nationalities in a safe space to talk about the disempowerment of women in society and how it affects the movement. The all-day event included four workshop sessions with topics ranging from “Imperialism, Women and War” to “Sexist Language and Meeting Dynamics.”

One workshop entitled “Women in the Workplace and the Labor Movement” featured a young woman who is currently incarcerated and being exploited in a work release program. She talked of not being able to confront her boss because she had no one at the women’s facility to back her up. She said it was their word against hers, and that no one would believe her. She also explained that she gets paid $1 a day and that they take rent out of her meager checks every month.

A member of UE Local 150 was on the panel to discuss their struggle as well.

The conference culminated with a cultural event that combined speakers, spoken word performances and some inspirational music. Fruit of Labor, which is the cultural arm of Black Workers for Justice, had the crowd singing, “Organize, organize, organize!” They ended the night with the Diane Reeves song “Endangered Species,” and conference participants all joined in the chorus: “I am an endangered species / But I sing no victim’s song / I am a woman, I am an artist / And I know where my voice belongs.”


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