The Women’s March takes to the streets for the third year
For the third year in a row, thousands of women will be marching in cities across the country.
The Women’s March first gained momentum after the 2016 election. The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women marched in Washington DC, as well as cities across the globe.
This year, however, things are a little bit different. The leaders of the National Women’s March have faced controversy surrounding their connection with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The Nation of Islam is a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Farrakhan himself often makes anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic comments.
For many women, particularly LGBTI and Jewish women, the Women’s March leaders refusing to condemn Farrakhan was troubling. Many local Women’s March chapters have separated themselves from the National leadership. Others have called on the leaders to resign. Large national organizations such as the Democratic National Committee have also pulled support for the National Women’s March.
Women’s March Alliance
In New York City, two separate marches were held — one by the National Women’s March organization and a second by an offshoot group called Women’s March Alliance.
GSN spoke with Nisi Jacobs, an organizer with the Women’s March Alliance.
Jacobs is a Jewish feminist who grew up in NYC. In the 1980s, she witnessed firsthand the atrocities of the AIDS epidemic. She describes the once-vibrant gay community in the West Village turn into a ‘morgue.’
‘Feminism is very dependent on our sense of counting on other people,’ Jacobs said. ‘The whole movement for gender equality is based on allyship.’
For Jacobs, the National Women’s March leaders didn’t seem like viable allies anymore. This is why she stuck with the grassroots movement Women’s March Alliance.
Jacobs recalls hearing Farrakhan’s controversial comments at the 2018 Saviors Day event, where he proclaimed that ‘powerful Jews are the enemy.’
‘I paid attention to the Women’s March [leaders] and saw [Tamika] Mallory’s social media posts about Farrakhan after the event,’ Jacobs said. ‘I was sickened.’
‘Plus the misogyny,’ Jacobs continues. ‘How can [feminist leaders] support a man like that?’
‘It’s like, “where are you leading me? Back to the kitchen? No thanks.”’
Hannah Simpson, a transgender Jewish activist, is one of the Women’s March Alliance speakers. Here, Simpson connects the LGBTI and Jewish groups who felt betrayed by the National Women’s March.
— Hannah Simpson (@hannsimp) January 19, 2019
Simpson’s speech can be seen here:
Simpson was working with Women’s March Alliance, a grassroots organization, since the first Women’s March. She is very clear about the need to separate the local grassroots organizations from the National Women’s March, Inc.
‘It’s like a supermarket,’ Simpson explains. ‘Don’t judge your local organic eggs based on a salmonella outbreak. Similarly, don’t blame grassroots movements for the anti-Semitism outbreak of the [National Women’s March leadership].’
‘The whole thing is about protecting people I want to survive and thrive,’ Jacobs says. ‘I’m Jewish and I have family that didn’t make it to these shores because they were murdered by Nazis.’
‘I’m not gonna sit by and let that be normalized in NYC.’
Check out pictures from the Women’s March Alliance’s rally below.