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Women’s March Scheduled For Jan. 19, Despite Opposition

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Jan 8, 2019 - 10:40:18 PM

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Women’s March in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2018. Photo: MGN Online

WASHINGTON—After increasingly successful events in 2017 and 2018; the 2019 Women’s March has been injured, but continues proceeding toward Jan. 19, despite efforts by Jewish and White women to sabotage the movement’s strong, non-White leadership attempting to use the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, as a wedge.

The first Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.

Since then, the goal of the annual marches continues to advocate for legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, health care reform, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, workers’ rights and tolerance. The March leadership in 2019 has been challenged from within and from without. But dissension also grew, within and without.

In a Jan. 2 interview with NPR former Women’s March board member Vanessa Wruble echoed the chorus of other White and Jewish women who voiced displeasure, apprehension and downright condemnation of march cochairs and their “association” with Min. Farrakhan.

(l-r) Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour

“What I was concerned about during the march was the appearance of aligning ourselves with a group that was known to be anti-Semitic,” former Women’s March board member Vanessa Wruble told NPR Jan. 2, “and how that could, you know, shatter a very, very vulnerable coalition.” Once again, the views and influence of White women took root.

March co-chairs including Tamika Mallory who is Black, Linda Sarsour who is Palestinian and Carmen Perez who is Latina were condemned and demands were made for them to step down.

White women organized the march from momentum from #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, a Black woman and co-opted it, explained Dr. Julianne Malveaux in a commentary titled, “Can a Woman’s Coalition Survive Petulant White Women?”

“With the fraught history between Black and White women, with their complicity in our rapes, and in the lynching of Black men, White women have no right to demand anything of Black women, let alone that leaders like Tamika Mallory ‘denounce’ Minister Farrakhan,” wrote Dr. Malveaux.

“What I would hope is that people would look at my track record,” Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory responded on NPR, “20 years of work that I’ve been doing, fighting for justice for all marginalized people, and not to hold me accountable for the words of any other individual.”

She added, “I follow a set of principles, and those principles say that we must fight systems of oppression, that we cannot be effective as leaders or organizers fighting individuals, but rather that we must look at the systems of oppression and do the work to resist that, and that’s who I am and that’s what I’m committed to, and that’s what the Women’s March is also committed to.”

“You had mentioned earlier that people are being forced to choose,” Ms. Mallory continued. “And I hope that people won’t feel that they are being forced to choose at all. I think that what people need to choose in this moment is to stand up for the most marginalized communities. We hope that people will look at the work that the Women’s March has done. We have not always done things properly, because that is what growing pains are all about. But I think that our intention of being here to support the most vulnerable and to resist in a time where so many communities are feeling the pain is so important, and we hope that people will turn out in large numbers. Just do what makes you feel good in your local community.”

Gatherings in other parts of the country have also experienced controversy. In Humboldt County, Calif., reports stated organizers cancelled this year’s gathering for “being too White,” and not being more diverse in terms of anticipated participation. However, the gathering has since been resumed by Eureka City Councilwoman Linda Atkins, according to the Eureka Times Standard. The paper reported that Ms. Akins said she will reach out to Black, Latino and Indigenous women’s groups to ensure a variety of speakers. In Chicago, local organizers cancelled the gathering citing the high cost of the event, reported the Chicago Tribune. Not all local marches are official chapters or affiliates of the national Women’s March group. Marches are still scheduled for many cities in the U.S. and abroad according to the Women’s March official website.

“I think there are just lots of different types of leadership that we need in this country,” author Sayu Bhojwani, founder and president of New American Leaders told this writer. “There are the types of leaders who are in Congress who are working within the system to change the system. There are the types of leaders, like the Women’s March who in some ways sit outside the system and are advocates for change,” she added.

“There are those of us like me who run organizations that are trying to build systems and we all draw lessons from one another and draw strength from one another. But there is a place for every type. There’s a place for multiple types of leaders and I think we’re all working towards the same goal for an America that works better for women and people of color and for all Americans,” Ms. Bhojwani.

“I think often when people hear or see women and people of color, if they don’t identify with those groups; they feel that a leader like me or a leader like the Women’s March leaders or a leader like (Rep.) Rashida (Tlaib [D-Mich.]) is not going to fight for them. But really, we’re here to say that the country needs to work better for every American, not just for the wealthy and well connected.”

“The oxymoronic truth about the Women’s March and its anti-Trump bent,” wrote Final Call editor-in-chief Richard B. Muhammad in recent column, is that “The march would not have been necessary, except that White women put him in office. A majority of White female voters put the Groper in Chief in the White House.”