OAKLAND, CA — Hosting a teach-in for the first time can be intimidating. How can we remember our talking points? How can we attract people’s attention and keep their attention in an environment that is highly distracting and filled with others who are grabbing for attention?
The Poor People’s Campaign at Laney came to a few important points that made our teach in at the Oakland Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2019 a success. We engaged people by projecting our voices while speaking on topics that we understand and hold dear. We made sure to simplify complicated topics into a short description that would draw in people who wanted to know more. And oftentimes, without even asking, people eagerly donated money while providing their contact information.
The topics we chose were ones we handpicked collectively as subjects that affected locals. Being that we are in a city that has some of the highest rents and rates of gentrification, housing insecurities were at the top of our list. In a climate that is ripe with teacher strikes, education peaked interest.
What surprised many people was our talk about local environmental issues that many did not know about. Like referencing San Francisco Bayview-Hunters Points’ long history of a radioactive landscape that has concerned residents for decades. People want to know what is going on locally but in days where media companies merge into larger mainstream entities devouring small news publications, it can be very difficult to stay informed and know what can be fought for on a local level.
Taking turns belting out our own understanding of the world around us, we were able to express many diverse experiences and knowledge that intertwined as the fabric of our social problems tend to do. And, finally, it starts to all make sense.
Women and female-headed families are the fastest growing sections of the U.S. homeless. As recent “Say-her-name” protests have documented, poor women increasingly face police violence alongside domestic violence and are jailed for the same crimes against property as men. This is a social struggle that can only be resolved by a political battle—a struggle over class power. Who is going to rule society?
The majority of women today are at the center of a global new class of workers, forced out of the economy by labor replacing electronic production. Today women make up more than half of the paid workforce and more than half of this new class. Uplifting women would not only benefit women; it benefits their entire family. On the day of the Women’s March members of this new class took to the streets once again, thirsty to understand what is next in their quest to change the country and world.