On The 16th Day, We Rage

Today, December 10, marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. We honor Las Mariposas—Patria, Minerva, María Teresa, and Dedé—the brave Mirabal sisters who fought a regime that ultimately cost them their lives. We also launched the Feminist Covid Diaries on Day 1 passing the mic to our members of primarily women of color across the continent,  whose lives have been upended by the pandemic. The diaries are our contribution to the global reckoning that women have carried the world these past nine months.  The process of documenting experiences and struggles is not an easy feat particularly for our sisters who have lost loved ones from COVID-19.

The stories we’ve gathered tell of a narrative of oppression that Black, Indigenous, Women of Color know all too well. Mothers losing their jobs right after giving birth. Essential workers grappling with the mental toll of risking their lives for simply doing their jobs. Mothers who are also teachers, whose days are absorbed into a dizzying schedule of remote teaching and caretaking. Undocumented mothers. Domestic violence survivors. These stories tell of tragedy that has been replicated many times: Profit taking precedence over human lives. Capitalism laying bare its fangs. Workers of color, low-income marginalized communities being left to fend for themselves– with the current administration proudly unfurling the banner of fascism and racism.

The diaries are our way of utilizing digital media to send a message of solidarity to our sisters across all borders. 

December 10 also marks International Human Rights Day—amid ominous spikes in Covid-19 death tolls and cases—and today we renew our commitment to our cause of fighting for genuine liberation for ALL women. Let this be known that we will continue to stand alongside our sisters–

Women who rouse their battered selves to care for their kids– day after day. For we don’t hear of men drowning in work, more so in their domestic lives. Women’s individual struggles can be traced to a systemic problem of disparity, neglect, and utter disregard for the other half of the human population as an equal, as people with rights. 

Women who have been coerced to perform all types of actions in order to generate income for the sake of survival. We see our sisters in the global south who were laid off from oppressive factory jobs that supply clothes to the West– who have had to turn to the sex trade so they wouldn’t starve. We think of all the children who are getting trafficked in the dark web, being abused in front of a webcam– night after night. This is continuously happening because the monsters prowling the web for their next victim have become more emboldened during lockdown- stemming from entitlement and sickening delusion that their wants must be met even during a deadly global pandemic. Only patriarchy can conjure such a system of transactional brutality.

We think of our trans sisters who are being murdered and forced out to the streets. Their living conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. 

We see our teachers already stretched beyond their financial and physical capacity having to redo everything, having to learn to teach from afar, to send warmth, care, and guidance to their young students from behind a computer screen.

We stand in solidarity with Filipino nurses who are dying at an alarming rate, who are disproportionately impacted than everyone else. We stand with their suffering families, their communities. 

We think of all the women who have been abused and maimed in isolation, as the number of domestic violence cases has ballooned since the beginning of the pandemic. We grieve for our sisters who have died every day since at the hands of their partners.

We denounce this house of horrors. The state’s deployment of continual neglect has impacted thousands of families. Now gaslighting has become the ultimate political strategy. When people blindly rally behind the Murderer while their neighbors are being murdered before their eyes.

It is state-violence when this administration could vomit billions to fund its imperialist whims over the well-being of its people. When Capital is deprived of oxygen and this government chooses to resuscitate it– instead of resuscitating its people, instead of dispersing financial support, food, and healthcare to its dying states.

It is militarized patriarchy when scientists who reveal the actual data supporting the mishandling of COVID-19 are being harassed by the police. 

It is so when the president and his minions, despite the irresponsible way they’ve been handling this crisis– disseminating misinformation and conspiracy theories– still got the best care, the best concoction of lifesaving drugs when they tested positive for the virus. While close to 295K have died, and hospitals are filled beyond capacity. 

We are living in militarized patriarchy, under fascism during a pandemic, when we have to mourn our dead via Zoom.

Today we unveil this seething anger, this collective rage. We demand justice!

We share this enormous task of record-keeping, of documenting lamentations, of righteous indignation– of our raging against this prevailing mismanagement of a global health crisis, the ongoing lies and narcissism at the expense of our lives. 

It is state violence when women are expected to carry the world, perform the tasks that could decide between survival and extinction, but are expected to tolerate the abuse on their bodies, their minds, their spirits. When women have to bail out these foot soldiers of patriarchy and capitalism over and over again. 

Amidst all the deaths and the deprivation, this country is still standing, because its women haven’t quit and walked away. A woman’s rage saving the world is not the stuff of legends. It is history. It is our story.

We take comfort in this rage that creates and redeems, this rage that does not abandon and destroy. Sisters, let us use our rage, let us trust ourselves, let us believe in our power to birth a new world. Organize. Fight.