Movements work better when they’re built from the ground up, not from the top down. While the Women’s March set records worldwide in 2017, the enthusiasm has died down for today’s marches. While enthusiasm can’t be sustained forever for everything, the leadership of the Women’s March has done their best to destroy it for 2019.
Don’t be mistaken by today’s turnout. Enthusiasm for the women’s movement is at full throttle. The Women’s March 2017, the weekend after Trump’s inauguration led to the #MeToo movement, which led to justice for serial sexual harassers and those who’ve committed assault, which led to a record number of women being elected to Congress and state legislatures.
What have hurt this year’s movement are ties the leadership has to anti-Semitism, specifically to Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
Co-President of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory attended a Farrakhan speech where he said, “White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.”
While Mallory said she doesn’t agree with Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, homophobic and transphobic statements, she refuses to specifically denounce and has even called him the “Greatest of all time.” She argues the Women’s March organization believes in “attacking the forces of evil” and not individuals. I guess she didn’t see any of the anti-Trump posters at the last rally. There were at least a couple of them. You can’t fight the forces of evil while refusing to identify the perpetrators.
The controversy has caused the founder of the Women’s March, Teresa Shook, to call for the current leadership to step aside. There has been other fallout.
Groups like EMILY’s List, The National Council of Jewish Women, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Democratic National Committee have all pulled their support from this year’s march. Celebrities such as Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing, who have been huge advocates for the women’s movement, have also come out against the march.
Milano said, “Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately.”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also walked away and stated, “Sadly, I must walk away from the national Women’s March organization, and specifically its leadership. While I still firmly believe in its values and mission, I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.”
We desperately need female leadership in this nation. We need more women elected to public office. Women are the greatest champions of diversity and the greatest foes to the divisions of hate and intolerance. We especially need them during a time when the presidency is occupied by a racist, sexist bigot who has committed sexual assault numerous times in the past and went on to boast about it. The leadership of the Women’s March needs to understand we have to oppose all forms of bigotry and oppression, and that includes anti-Semitism. You wouldn’t go to a party with a racist while opposing racism, so why dance with Farrakhan while denouncing anti-Semitism?
The leadership’s inability to denounce the leader of the Nation of Islam is like the Republican leadership’s fear of criticizing Donald Trump. We are better than Republicans. It’s too bad the leadership of the Women’s March is not.
I can assure you of this; the women who are marching today are a hell of a lot better than the organization’s leadership.
Watch me draw.