Artwork by Suzy Gonzalez
The seed for San Antonio's International Woman's Day March was planted in the 1980s after native daughter Susan Guerra returned from Norway, describing to friends the Women's Day marches she saw across Europe. By 1985, Guerra and friend Graciela Sánchez, who would go on to found the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, staged the city's first march, gathering women leaders like Emma Tenayuca, the iconic labor organizer who led the 1938 pecan shellers strike, to join them in the streets.
Nearly every year since then, women (and supportive, equality-minded men) across the city have marched on the Saturday nearest International Women's Day (which is today, Friday, March 8), demanding equal rights for women workers, an end to domestic violence and an end to institutionalized violence against women. There's plenty of fodder for protest following the 2011 Legislative session, which Texas Monthly writer Mimi Swartz aptly called “the most aggressively anti-abortion and anti-contraception session in history.” The Lege is back this year, and women's bodies/rights have again become political footballs among the powers that be.