How the Women's March Movement Is Falling Into Decline
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – January 10, 2018
Despite its intentions of being an all-inclusive group, support for the Women’s March organization is declining, following allegations of anti-Semitism within the group’s high-ranking members. New Orleans is the latest city to call off its Women's March as the feminist event faces criticism over its controversial organizers.
The Organization for Women canceled the New Orleans women's March because national leaders for the event have not agreed to step down amid claims of anti-semitism. Reports say the group came to the decision after attendee numbers declined drastically in 2018.
“Many of the sister marches have asked the leaders of Women’s March, Inc. to resign but as of today, they have yet to do so. The controversy is dampening efforts of sister marches to fundraise, enlist involvement, find sponsors and attendee numbers have drastically declined this year. New Orleans is no exception,” the group’s statement reads.
Widely known in Louisiana for its pro-abortion support, the Baton Rouge Chapter said the controversy surrounding Women's March founders Carmen Perez, Tameka Mallory and Linda Sarsour is the primary reason for the event’s downfall.
In December the New York Times wrote an expose about Vanessa Wruble - one of the initial founders of the March who claims she was forced out by Perez and Mallory because she is Jewish. Wruble said that when she spoke about her Jewish heritage in a meeting Perez and Mallory responded by saying the Jews need to confront their role in racism. Mallory and Perez kicked Wruble out of the group shortly after that incident. What’s more, Perez, Mallory and Sarsour all openly support the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who has a long history of open anti-semitism and who has even written a book blaming the Jewish community for allegedly playing a major role in the American slave trade.
Linda Sarsour has specifically been called out for her support of Palestinian violence against Israel which she once referred to as the definition of courage. She’s also called for a one-state solution in favor of the Palestinians--a proposal which would mean an end to Israel as we know it. All of this has led to Teresa Shook, an original founder of the March, calling for Sarsour, Perez and Mallory to step down in November. She wrote that the women have steered the movement in the wrong direction by refusing to denounce racist and hateful beliefs. The three women have refused to comply and are now lashing out at their former allies.
The Women's March, which was originally promoted as a triumph of feminism and a rejection of President Trump, is now in jeopardy of dissolving completely. Just two weeks ago a chapter in California announced it canceled this year's March because it couldn't get enough minorities to join.
“March by a women's group in California has been cancelled by organizers over concerns that it's going to be too white,” the Washington Post reported. Across the country the members have become so divided that many have now joined a separate March which will take place on the same day.
The cancellation comes amid division and larger conversations about diversity and representation in the international Women’s March movement.
“The local organizers are continuing to meet and discuss how to broaden representation in the organizing committee to create an event that represents and supports peoples who live here in Humboldt,” the statement read.
“Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community. Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach.”
"We failed to have the type of collaboration needed to be inclusive of some of the most underrepresented voices in our community, namely, women of color and people who are gender non-conforming," the group said in a different statement.
In November 2018, The Women's March also posted a controversial tweet criticizing white women for not voting how the organization wanted them to vote, writing "There needs to be accountability and an honest reckoning. There’s a lot of work to do, white women. A lot of learning. A lot of growing."
There needs to be accountability and an honest reckoning. There’s a lot of work to do, white women. A lot of learning. A lot of growing.— Women's March (@womensmarch) November 7, 2018
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After last year's flagship event zeroed-in on the battleground state of Nevada, the main event for the third march will return to city where it began -- the nation's capital. That march took place a day after Trump’s inauguration in 2017. The third annual Women’s March is set to take place on Jan. 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
“It's time to march again. And this time, we're coming back with an agenda. On January 19, 2019, we’re going to flood the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe. The #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us,” the organization says on its website.
Women’s March Washington state disbanded in December 2018 to signal its disapproval of its national body. The Rhode Island chapter officially splintered from its parent organization last May.
In a statement last November, Women's March Chicago attributed the decision not to hold a January rally after its October "March to the Polls" to a lack of resources given the expense and manpower required to host the events.
But one board member told the Chicago Tribune that the move had the “side benefit" of further distancing the Chicago team from its national counterpart.
As more members start to separate themselves from Women’s March, some are turning to March On. The split has even led to the creation of two conflicting marches in New York. Both are scheduled to take place on the same day in January, showing just how divided the group truly is.