|Why We Need a U.S.-Based Feminist Anti-Militarism Movement|
Although GFW primarily supports women-led efforts outside the United States, it’s important for our grantees to be connected to and in solidarity with a strong U.S.-based feminist, anti-militarist movement. That’s why we brought together Fabiola Torralba and Graciela Sanchez from the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio Texas, and Barbara Lott-Holland from the Bus Riders Union of the Labor Community Strategy Center. These multi-racial, multi-generational women shared their experiences of living near U.S. military bases, how their family is recruited into the military, the policing of their neighborhoods, and the school-to-prison pipeline for youth of color. We discussed the need to build a powerful grassroots women’s movement in the U.S. that can work across borders because it will take all of us to stand up to the military industrial complex. If anyone could do it, women can.
Graciela Sanchez, whose organization uses culture and art, shared these powerful words of how we might build a movement of women against militarism. “How can we organize against the military? How can we organize against poverty and racism? How can we organize for justice if we hate ourselves? We have to learn to do the work as mujeres to ground ourselves culturally and to change the culture of violence, of war, of hate of greed towards that of our abuelitas (grandmothers) that was a culture of love, sharing, compassion, respect, honesty and truth. All simple concepts, but hard to live by. We do that by recognizing that all our identities must come together. In this country, organizing has been centered and defined by men, by identity politics, separated. I can’t separate my queer self, my woman self, my working class background self, my immigrant family from Mexico self, or my curly headed self. We can’t separate our identities. We must look at issues holistically and make the connections.”
The women who came together at the USSF will continue to communicate and deepen our relationships, and solidarity actions are starting to be planned to support the World March of Women efforts in Colombia in August and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in October. Stay tuned to hear how you might join this transnational effort.