The rally was sponsored by a host of organizations, including the Chinese Progressive Association, Community Labor United, New England United for Justice, and Matahari Women Workers’ Center.
“We’re fighting for equality, we’re fighting for justice and we’re fighting just to be recognized and have our voices heard,” one speaker told the crowd.
“I am a woman, I am black, I am an immigrant, and I am unapologetic,” another said, drawing loud cheers.
A Day Without a Woman strike urged women to take off from bothpaid and unpaid labor. If they couldn’t, they were encouraged not to shop at stores except those run by women or minorities.
Elana Cotto, 39, works in a hospital and said that many women there wanted to strike but couldn’t because they were afraid of how it would affect their patients.
“I have a non-clinical job and I felt it was important to go out for those who can’t,” she said. “The fact that we still have to fight this fight is appalling. The fact that we’ve gone spectacularly backwards in a matter of two months is nauseating.”
Cotto cited President Donald Trump, saying his his actions inspired her to attend the event. She wasn’t the only one. One group of women held up a sign that said, “Bitches Against Trump.”
Other signs included, “Nevertheless, she persists,” and, “Women hold up half the sky.” When the crowd began to chant, “Stand up, fight back,” rally organizers led rounds of the phrase in English, Spanish and Chinese.
A woman from SEIU 1199, a health care workers union, briefly took the microphone and shared what the day was about for her, as an immigrant from Haiti who had to work two jobs to make ends meet.
“We are here to ask for equal pay and equal rights,” she said. “We are women and we work hard. We deserve to get paid like men get paid.”
Derek Kouyoumjiancontributed to this report.