number of people who took to the streets for Women’s March on
Washington in D.C. and its sister marches across the country and the
globe far exceeded the expectations of local and national organizers.
a sea of pink cat-eared “pussyhats” nearly 5 million
people from all seven continents carried placards that read “Make
America Sane Again,” “Men of Quality do not FEAR
Equality,” “Viva La Vulva” and "I am no longer
accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I
cannot accept” to highlight a few, showed a counter
-inauguration to the nation’s newly elected president’s
vision for the country and world.
was also on display at the marches was a resurgence of feminism that
was multi-generational, highlighting an amalgam of issues - abortion,
equal pay, immigration rights, environmental protection, transgender
rights, police brutality, to name a few - that might possibly be the
beginnings of its fourth wave called “intersectional feminism”
embraced by both women and men.
previous women’s marches and waves of feminism that had
primarily been an intentionally exclusive group of female country
club members that spoke to Betty Friedan's feminine mystique of
upper-crust “pumps and pearls” wearing white women, this
march was intentional in bringing various women and their voices and
concerns to the organizing table.
Mallory, one of the D.C. organizers and African American, told Joy
Reid of MSNBC the morning of the D.C march that by devising an
intersectional policy platform centering the voices of women of color
“you set the agenda or you become an agenda item. ”
with women of color voices and concerns as an organizing principle
which asked white women “to listen more and talk less”
and check their white privilege at the proverbial door at the marches
there was neither a consensus nor solidarity among the white
sisterhood majority with that objective.
we rise above the sniping about ‘privilege,’ ‘white
feminism,’ ‘intersectionality,’ and hierarchies of
grievance in the face of Trump and the dangers he poses to the
American and international liberal world order and women everywhere?”
Emma-Kate Symons wrote in her op-ed piece “Agenda for Women’s
March has been hijacked by organizers bent on highlighting women’s
differences” for Women in the World in Association with The New
that once again a white sisterhood would exploit not only our
suffering to legitimate their cause but also our black and brown
faces for photo-op moments where we are seen and not heard or if
heard but not taken seriously, mixed feelings erupted among women of
color about attending the D.C. and sister marches.
Jamilah Lemieux’s op-ed “Why I’m Skipping The
Women’s March on Washington” in Colorlines wrote "Much
of the post-election news cycle was dominated by White folks wringing
their hands: How could this happen? Why did it happen? There was lots
of weeping and wailing from women who could get the answers to those
questions by simply asking their relatives, friends and partners who
put Trump in power…And just what would this “million”
women be coming together to march about—their mothers, sisters,
homegirls and friends who elected Trump in the first place?”
nagging question many women of color who did and didn’t attend
marches have is: “Where was this same energy and white
sisterhood at the polls in November?”
percent of white women voters cast their ballots for Trump whereas 94
percent of black women cast theirs for Hillary.
women of color did indeed attend the marches. Angela Peoples went to
the march in D.C. wearing a Trump-like red hat that read “Stop
Killing Black People” and carried a sign that read “White
Women Voted for Trump.”
it must be noted that there is a difference between marching for
everyone’s civil rights versus marching because white women now
recognize a diminishment of their white privilege.
example, white women who voted for Trump were also at the D.C. March.
Many of these women shared with me they voted for him for economic
reasons. And while many of them didn’t mind Trump cutting
Obamacare, they were both awake and upset to learn that the
Affordable Care Act, which they now receive but will be repealed, was
the official name for Obamacare.
Boston March turned out a record number of nearly 200,000. But a
white female friend of mine troubled by the complexion of the march
sent me an email stating the following:
"Maybe you can answer this
question for me. There was a lack of Blacks and People of Color at
"The March"…WHY? What can be done to motivate more
to “come out"? Am I naive?”
I can’t speak for all black people I can say that a lot of
African American men and women didn’t show up for sister
marches in predominately white towns and cities, in spite of the
marches’ internecine tensions, where the practice of “Stop
and Frisk” is overwhelmingly acted upon people of color.
it’s these sort of questions that help forge change in building
a stronger sisterhood and a safer world.