Our very first International Women’s Day event was a huge success! Around 200 people attended; it was a diverse group of working people, high school students, college students.
We heard great stories about the challenges women have overcome. UH Manoa Professor Monisha Das Gupta spoke about the connections between women’s issues, labor, and immigration. Dolores Reyes, a retired Hilton Hawaiian Village housekeeper, talked about stepping up back in 2006 to lead the housekeepers in a fight to clean 15 rooms instead of 16. Aston Waikiki Beach housekeeper Lydia Macadangdang and Hotel Renew housekeeper MJ Padaca shared their struggle to fight for a fair process to decide whether to unionize at their respective hotels. They detailed their unsafe working conditions and what it is like to clean 18 rooms a shift. Lastly, Local 5 organizer Gemma Weinstein spoke about her hopes for the future and why she fights for union and non-union workers alike.
We took took action on a current issue facing women today by rallying in solidarity with the Aston Waikiki Beach and Hotel Renew workers who are fighting for a safer and better workplace. We gathered across the street from the Aston Waikiki Beach and sang “We Shall Overcome” and “We Shall Not Be Moved.” We hope this is the first of many International Women’s Day celebrations in Hawai’i!