Women's March plans strike: Day without a woman

The organizers of the Women's March on Washington unveiled on Instagram Monday a new step for taking action.

It posted an image that said, simply: "General strike: A day without a woman. Date to be announced." In the comments, it posted, "The will of the people will stand."

In seven hours, it had amassed 23,800 likes on Instagram and more than 600 comments.

It's the latest in a series of online directives issued to supporters of the march, which drew millions of women onto the streets in cities around the world to express their support for women's rights, reproductive rights, ending gender-based violence, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom and environmental justice.

Event organizers unveiled the "10 Actions for the first 100 Days" campaign right after the march on its website, www.womensmarch.com, an effort to keep those who supported the march focused on activism in the first 100 days on President Donald Trump's administration.

It's not clear, however, what the post means or how it will play out. There are no details about when it will take place, and whether organizers are suggesting women call in sick on a particular day, or whether they're suggesting a purchasing strike for one day.

Phoebe Hopps, the Michigan coordinator for the Women's March, said there's still a lot of internal discussion under way about what this call to action will mean.

"I know a lot of state leaders and a lot of women are strongly disagreeing," said Hopps. "It's disproportionately unfair for women who are low-income and hourly workers. Calling in sick or striking would mean unpaid days of work, or trouble like write-ups. It seems to be a very privileged type of request."

A conference call is planned for later this week, she said, to discuss the issue with state leaders.

"I think they're going to pull back on it," she said, adding that people also might be interpreting it incorrectly. "It might be a strike on spending."

Hopps launched her own nonprofit organization for Michiganders who supported the Women's March, www.womensmarchmichigan.org, and plans to run a grassroots, local effort to inform and educate women about the political process with support from the national organization. That means working to inspire Michigan women to run for political office and to advocate for them when they do.

She has organized a counter protest to take place Saturday at Planned Parenthood clinics around the state.

"They are expecting a high volume of protesters who want to defund Planned Parenthood," she said. "We saw that as a good opportunity to use the Women's March to help protect the clinics. We will be massively surrounding the clinics. We'll be arriving before the protesters and surrounding the clinics with love."

Contact Kristen Jordan Shamus: 313-222-5997 or kshamus@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus. 

2017 © Detroit Free Press


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