May Chen led one of the largest Asian-American strikes in History. While working with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, she led 20,000 workers, marching the streets of Lower Manhattan demanding work contracts. By many accounts, the workers won. The employers held back on wage cuts and withdrew their demand to give up their holidays and some benefits. It paved the way for better working conditions. (thanks to Voices of Labor)
Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour
Tamika Mallory is an outspoken champion of social justice who worked with the Obama Administration as a strong advocate for civil rights, equal rights for women, health care, and those who suffer from gun violence and police misconduct. Ms. Mallory is the Co-President of the Women’s March Board; she served as a national organizer for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, which drew 300,000, as well as Justice or Else!, where she delivered a national address to over 700,000. (thanks to Women’s March)
Carmen Perez has been advocating around civil rights issues for over 20 years. Issues Ms. Perez has fought for include: mass incarceration, gender equality, violence prevention, racial healing and community policing. Carmen is the Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice, the Treasurer of Women’s March, the co-founder of Justice League NYC, and founder of the Justice League of California. She has organized numerous national convenings, including Growing Up Locked Down conferences on juvenile justice, and the March2Justice, a 250 mile march which drew Congressional attention to key legislative reforms to confront the national crisis in police violence. (thanks to Women’s March)
Linda Sarsour is a Brooklyn-born Palestinian -American-Muslim activist for racial justice and civil rights, a community organizer, and mother. Ms Sarsour is most notable for her ability to build coalitions across different movements. She led the successful, progressive coalition to close New York public schools for the observance of two of Islam’s most important holy days, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. In 2015, Linda was one of three women co-chairs of the March2Justice, an effort advised and chaired by legendary artist and activist Belafonte, leading almost 100 marchers through 5 states and 250 miles from Staten Island, NY to Washington, DC. (thanks to Women’s March)
Hattie Canty has been called “one of the greatest strike leaders” in the United States. Ms. Canty life led her to becoming a janitor and maid in Las Vegas where she became involved with the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 (affiliated with the Hotels Employers and Restaurant Employees International Union) . Eventually she was elected to the Executive Board in 1984; her leadership led Local 226 through a successful 75 day walkout/ strike against Las Vegas casinos in an effort to gain better health benefits and a living wage for culinary workers. Ms. Canty also pushed to integrate the union and helped minorities seek and obtain higher level jobs. (thanks to Blackthen)
Jane Fonda is a well known, Academy Award winning actress but is maybe better known for her activism. She first started speaking out against the Vietnam War and then later became an advocate for women, Native Americans, and the environment. Ms. Fonda has used her platform to support the Black Panther Party, the protests at Standing Rock, and has helped establish the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health. Gender equality has been a large part of her advocacy work. In 2005 Fonda co-founded the Women’s Media Center, she serves as on the board of directors of “The Sisterhood is Global” and has used crowd funding to fight violence against women.
Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist who was the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association (now the United Farm Workers). Ms. Huerta helped organize the Delano Grape strike in 1965 in California and was the lead negotiator in the workers’ contract that was created after the strike. She also originated the phrase “Si se puede”. As an advocate for farmworkers’ rights, Huerta has been arrested twenty-two times for participating in non-violent civil disobedience activities and strikes. She remains active in progressive causes, and serves on the boards of People for the American Way, Consumer Federation of California, and the Feminist Majority Foundation. Ms. Huerta is also the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a non profit organization that organizes at the grassroots level, engaging and developing natural leaders. DHF creates leadership opportunities for community organizing, leadership development, civic engagement, and policy advocacy in the following priority areas: health & environment, education & youth development, and economic development.
Mary G. Harris “Mother” Jones was an Irish-born American school teacher and dressmaker turned prominent labor and community organizer. In her day, Mother Jones helped organize for the Knights of Labor and the Unite Mine Workers. By the time she was 60 years old, Ms. Jones was called “the most dangerous woman in America” for her ability to organize and mobilize workers and their families against the mine owners. Major strikes included: Pennsylvania silk mill strike (fighting for equal wages for female workers) and the Children’s Crusade (fighting against child labor in the mills and mines). Jones used a phrase still used by union supporters more than a century later: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” She was already known as “the miners’ angel” when she was denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as the “grandmother of all agitators”, she replied, “I hope to live long enough to be the great-grandmother of all agitators.”
Celebrating all women
These women are just a few of the many that have fought hard for our communities and families.