Without a Permit: Marching on International Women's Day

by

iwdmarch-32jpg

UTSA Women's Studies students represent.

Keely Moore is a student at UTSA who participated in the march for International Women's Day, Saturday, March 8. She wrote about her experience for the Current.

I’m just a little girl from Fenwick Bottom, West Virginia (unincorporated). While I’ve lived in San Antonio for about six years, I’ve lived in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio, partitioned off by class, race and Bill O’Reilly from any kind of local women’s movement. So, attending the San Antonio International Women’s Day March was really frickin’ cool for me.

We marched without a permit through the streets of San Antonio. The reason we were permit-less was financial: the San Antonio City Council passed a parade ordinance in November 2007 (coincidentally, right after some immigration marches were held in San Antonio and other parts of the U.S.) that allows the City of San Antonio to charge organizations if the costs related to their parades or marches exceed $3,000. The ordinance lists six parade groups that are exempt from these charges, and note, the International Women’s Day March Organizing Committee is not one of the six exempt groups.

So, because permits to march in San Antonio are so expensive, the International Women’s Day March Organizing Committee (which is comprised largely of women of color who run social justice organizations with minimal amounts of overhead) could not afford to march legally. (This parade ordinance thing is starting to seem a lot like state economic violence to me.)

While we were marching in direct opposition to state power, and were potentially risking legal ramifications for doing so without a permit, I’ve never felt safer. Coming to feminist consciousness is excruciating.  The state, the media and even sometimes our own families indoctrinate us with the ideology of women’s subjugation and commodification, and then disguise the fact that women’s subjugation and commodification is mere ideology by passing it off as logical, objective, scientific, natural, unquestionable, law.

The San Antonio International Women’s Day March occurred in defiance to and in spite of white-supremacist, capitalist, colonial, hetero-normative patriarchy.  Cristal Gonzalez offered her blessing to the event despite the fact that her people and culture have been violently attacked, exploited and appropriated for the past 500 years.  LGBT activist Kelli Maples spoke at the march despite the fact that she risks bodily injury simply by leaving her home. We organized and marched together despite the fact that the state in which we live seeks to divide us along arbitrary lines that the state itself created and enforces.  Community is the best way to heal from the pains and anxieties of having a feminist consciousness.

If we learn nothing else from the march, if we write it off as a one-time overly radical superficial demonstration (it wasn’t), know that the women of San Antonio are magic, because the women of San Antonio have no fear left, and the women of San Antonio are coming for you, patriarchy.

comment