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8th Annual GWS LA Event with Sò An

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Report of 8th Annual Global Women’s Strike Los Angeles Event: An Evening of Resistance & Song with Sò An, Popular Haitian activist, political prisoner & folk singer

8th Annual GWS LA Ev...
sany0063.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x536

"I send you all my blessings as a free Haitian woman fighting for the rights of the impoverished majority in my homeland. They may imprison my body but they will never imprison the truth I know in my soul. I will continue to fight for justice and truth in Haiti until I draw my last breath." Sò An, Petionville Penitentiary, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Over 150 people, a majority people of color, packed the Golden State Mutual auditorium on March 15 for an Evening of Resistance and Song featuring Sò An, renowned Haitian activist, former political prisoner and folk singer. They heard firsthand how people in Haiti are surviving extreme poverty and at the same time remaining one of the most politically active populations in the Caribbean, beginning with grassroots women. On the panel with Sò An are Pierre Labossière of Haiti Action Committee in the Bay Area and event chair Margaret Prescod, host of Pacifica Radio’s KPFK’s Sojourner Truth and with Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike which, with GWS, organized the event. Event sponsors included actor Danny Glover; Ginette Apollon, Centre de Réintégration Économique et Sociale des Femmes Haitiennes; Eastside Café; and Haiti Action Committee. Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Diane Watson were among the co-sponsors and KPFK Pacifica Radio 90.7 FM was media sponsor.

Sò An said she has a special love for those most impoverished, and denounced the way some get resources in their name when those with the greatest need rarely ever see the resources. Because she is such a powerful mobilizer of grassroots people in Haiti, Sò An was arrested by US Marines in 2004 and held for over 2 years. She said, “They put me in jail to prevent me from doing the work [of building the movement], I did the work anyway,” including organizing a literacy school for women imprisoned – she now gets letters from women who could not sign their names when they were arrested. She urged everyone to keep fighting for people jailed unjustly, including in the US, and said, “I don’t consider myself free until all these people are free.”

Sò An reported that one reason the US, France and Canada removed President Jean Bertrand Aristide [kidnapped by US Marines as part of a coup in 2004] was that he demanded reparations from the French for the years of colonial slavery. To cheers from the audience she said, “We are fighting for it and we are going to get it”. Asked how people in Haiti are mobilizing now, Sò An responded that people are demanding that the UN mission, which has occupied Haiti since 2004 and is killing people especially children, leave. She spoke against US, France and Canada’s support for the UN forces, sending guns, tanks - tools of destruction - when people need housing, schools and much more. But she said the movement of the people in Haiti is strong, the people aren’t tired, they continue to struggle. The word on the street is ‘No Aristide, No Peace’

Pierre Labossière, of the Haiti Action Committee, introduced Sò An. He was also the translator from Kreyòl to English for the event. Pierre told how, when he was a young man in New York, Sò An fought for immigrants’ rights there and, with her choir, challenged sexism in the movement pressing the movement to value the work and leadership of Haitian women. Pierre also reported on the recent visit of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez to Haiti to announce $120 million for health, education, housing, construction projects and other assistance. With little notice of a visit from Chavez, tens of thousands of Haitians turned out to welcome Chavez who got out of his car to walk among the people, and went to the fence surrounding the Presidential Palace to greet more of the Haitian grassroots who had turned out to welcome him.

Aurora Hall, age 13, read the international demands of the Global Women’s Strike, beginning with ‘payment for all caring work’. Some of the other demands can be seen on the posters in front of the stage (see picture below). The event was one of GWS events and actions held in over 60 countries on and around International Women’s Day, with Payday men’s network, under the theme “Invest In Caring Not Killing.” The event also marked the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana.

Sharon Lungo of Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike read from the Strike's Action Alert issued following our visit in November 2006 to Oaxaca, Mexico: "Women All Over the World Support the Demands of the Women of Oaxaca". The call for support describes how women are organizing autonomously against electoral fraud, rape and other repression, and gives background on their struggle, their demands, their leading participation in the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO). The audience applauded often, especially to news of the Pots and Pans great march on August 1st, in which 20,000 women and children participated, including 15,000 teachers, women from the colonias (poor neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city), from community organizations, from the teachers’ unions, nurses, students and Indigenous communities. They chanted: "Take it, man, your wife is rising" and "When women move forward, no man is left behind." Their demands include "Reclaim the Indigenous traditions, unless they undermine the human dignity of women" and "The right to land for Indigenous women: the majority do not own their homes because as women they don't inherit their land."

Roberto Flores of the Eastside Café also spoke, inviting people to participate in the Cucapa Encampment, a transborder effort to demand Indigenous rights and more in Baja California, as well as to march as part of the People of Color Contingent in the March 17th ‘US Out of Iraq’ Protest. Margaret Prescod noted the revolution taking place throughout the Americas, saying it’s up to us in the US to catch up.

Sò An, accompanied by her husband Wilfrid Lavaud, brought the house down with her songs of courage and resistance. Her song Resistanz can be heard on the Sojourner Truth webpage , go to www.kpfk.org, click on Programs and scroll down to Sojourner Truth.

Los Angeles-based Voices of Unity Singers welcomed Sò An. Event co-sponsors included, in addition to the congresswomen, the Pan African Activist Coalition, HaitiAnalysis.com and the ANSWER Coalition. The event was endorsed by Alexandria House, Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid-SC, Committee in Solidarity with Haiti, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, actor Ben Guillory, International Action Center, LA Greens, Puerto Rican Alliance of LA, Raging Grannies and South Central Farmers.

Eusi Kwayana, one of our most distinguished elders who was a champion with Walter Rodney for independence in Guyana and the Caribbean, traveled from San Diego to hear Sò An.

Among the successes of the evening, the audience which was about 96% Black, donated generously to cover the cost of the event and to raise funds for grassroots women activists in Haiti.

GWS and Women of Color GWS presented a banner to Sò An to take back to Haiti with her, in English and Kreyòl, saying "Sò Anne thank you. Welcome to Los Angeles. You resist for us all!"

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Sò An speaking

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Sò An speaking...
so_an_spkg_adjusted.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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Pierre Labossière, of the Haiti Action Committee, introduced Sò An

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Pierre Labossière, ...
pierre_spkg.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

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Aurora Hall, age 13, read the international demands of the Global Women’s Strike

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Aurora Hall, age 13,...
ro_strike_demands.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x448

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Sharon Lungo of Women of Color in the GWS calls for support of the women of Oaxaca

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Sharon Lungo of Wome...
sharon_spking_at_so_anne_event_march_15__07.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x285

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Sò An, accompanied by her husband Wilfrid Lavaud, brought the house down

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Sò An, accompanied ...
so_anne_tido.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x694

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Los Angeles-based Voices of Unity Singers welcomed Sò An

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Los Angeles-based Vo...
voices_of_unity_singers.jpg, image/jpeg, 627x411

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Eusi Kwayana, one of our most distinguished elders, & Pierre Labossière

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Eusi Kwayana, one of...
eusi_pierre.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x373

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Audience, a full house

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

Audience, a full hou...
sany0040.jpg, image/jpeg, 575x307

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GWS and Women of Color GWS present a banner to Sò An

by Global Women's Strike Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 9:00 AM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-276-9833 PO Box 86681 Los Angeles CA 90086

GWS and Women of Col...
thank_you_hands_up.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x417

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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Thanks Concerned About Haiti Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2007 at 6:50 PM
Minor correction Coalition in Solidarity with Haiti Saturday, Apr. 14, 2007 at 5:21 PM

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