Maria Meneses, Community Health Promoter from Planned Parenthood NYC, talking about women's protection and pleasure at the Women's Day event of the Transnational People's Network in the South Bronx, on Friday, March 8th, 2024. By Mariana Navarrete Villegas.

For three hours on Friday, members of the Mott Haven community came together to honor International Women’s Day by sharing their personal experiences and thoughts on topics that affect them at home and at work.

Hosted by The Transnational People’s Network, the roughly 40 women – wearing different-colored blouses in shades of pink, purple and green – discussed issues at the Spanish-language event ranging from workplace harassment, to domestic violence and more.

“Women’s day is more than a day to celebrate, it’s a day to keep fighting for our rights and our dignity,” said Laura Ramirez Tlapa, a community engagement manager with Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.

The event, organized by the Transnational People’s Network, was designed to give women a chance to connect over their shared experiences but also learn more about the rights of migrant women and domestic workers, among others. The event was also to showcase resources and assistance available to women in the South Bronx and throughout the city.

“The law is equal to anyone, it does not matter your immigration status,” Damaris Ramirez, of the Coalition for Immigrant Freedom, told the room. She and her colleague presented “Know Your Rights” workshops and discussed the ways migrant women can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

They also presented workshops on negotiation, conflict resolution and public speaking. Araceli Marmolejo, a domestic worker from Colombia, said the organization helped with her self-esteem and to get grounded in activism.

Sameli Lopez, a Dominican-Puerto Rican woman who has lived in the Bronx for most of her life, attended on behalf of New York City’s Commission on Human Rights and told the group they have the right to demand equal treatment under the law.

“Never stay silent,” Lopez said. “If we speak up and organize there can be a positive change that can change the course of our lives.”

Speakers from nonprofit and grassroots organizations that advocate for migrant women, gather at the Women’s Day event at the Transnational People’s Network in Mott Haven on March 8th, 2024. By Mariana Navarrete Villegas.

The Bronx has the highest rate of domestic violence in the city, according to Lopez, who said it’s vital for women to know resources are available to them.

Planned Parenthood representatives led a discussion on the importance of consent and community in sexual and reproductive health. Women of all backgrounds and cultures have the same right to dignity, care and services, said Maria Meneses, a Planned Parenthood community health promoter.

“As women of color, we deserve dignified reproductive medical care,” she said.

Other presentations included information on English courses through The Mercy Center, and the People’s Network guidance on accessing public programs and the group’s own cultural activities, including embroidery workshops, and traditional dance festivals.

About Post Author