This is the finalized version of an article published by 20something on January 20, 2017. Find the article here with all relevant links and photos.
On January 20, the world will end. Just kidding, no actual Armageddon just yet, but the President-elect and his impending administration have created a network that really does have earth-shattering implications for many of us.
Targeting and actively seeking the disenfranchisement of swaths of people, Trump’s Inauguration will forever be the day we officially put a racist, sexually-violent manboy to the highest position of elected office in the United States – and, if you’re a patriot nationalist like future Mr. President, the highest position in the world.
As the day has now arrived, you’re likely aware of the various demonstrations going on around your city and in D.C. over the weekend — you maybe even have plans to attend. Collective attention has been mainly focused on the Women’s March on Washington, a large demonstration planned for Saturday, January 21 in the nation’s capital that also has various sister eventstaking place across the globe.
I’m heading to D.C. because I do support protesting the dogmatic rhetoric of hate and violence Trump has made his platform these past 18 months, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do so in person. I will be at the March on Washington because there is no denying that objecting Trump’s platform is righteous and well-founded, but it isn’t the demonstration motivating my protest. There are numerous other rallies this weekend whose messages are less muddled by comparison — and that’s where I’ll also be.
We have seen the march covered in myriad outlets over the past few months, with claims of its legitimacy and wide reach continually permeating collective conversation. However, there has been limited documentation of the March’s troublesome path to Inauguration Day. Originally called One Million Women, the March on Washington has changed its name twice since it was publicly disclosed that the name One Million Women had been co-opted from the 1997 Million Woman March, a demonstration that was developed, led by and centralized on Black women.
The March on Washington then continued to expand, again co-opting the name of the Civil Rights’ March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, wherein Martin Luther King Jr. made his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech. Instead of addressing the concerns that inevitably mounted, this march has, in many ways, fallen short of delivering diversity and inclusion.
All of the founding members of the March on Washington — people who first created the Facebook page that sparked the massive event — are white. It was only when they scrapped the original name and brought in non-white activists, including Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour, that the march reflected some diversity.
However, women of color who subsequently joined as organizers have since left (see image below.) The NAACP of Portland removed its endorsement of the the Women’s March in Portland due to the leaders’ consistent and deliberate disregard for how race factors into feminist goals.
The unfortunate reality is that, despite the necessary growth this march has achieved in widening its affiliations and support systems, its roots lie in a kind of white feminism that has for decades erased and further marginalized women of color and non-white and/or non-binary voices.
The Women’s March on Washington has evolved since November and is now proffering a much more considerately inclusive platform called “unity principles.”
“We believe gender justice is racial justice is economic justice,” its co-chairs wrote in a four-page statement. “We recognize that women of color carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy.”
The organizers now acknowledge how intersections in one’s identity produce very distinct experiences of womanhood.
I applaud its decision to address what “All Women” means to a movement with roots in inadequate allyship, but this march already has the attention, support and traction we hope to see with movements for equality. Putting our protest where it’s most effective is essential and to find more inclusively-conceived options can be a step toward allyship that acknowledges how our identities and experiences intersect and compound.
Given the climate of our country, our incoming president, and our media treatment, it is time to deliberately centralize voices that are targeted and lacking communal consideration.
This Inauguration Day, if you’re also heading to D.C. and want to stand with women of all backgrounds, demographics and identities, might we at 20something suggest these options to also consider while you’re in the nation’s capital (alongside participating in the Women’s March on Washington):
ANSWER Coalition is an anti-war, anti-militarism, anti-racism group that was founded just three days after 9/11 in response to the decision to invade Iraq. While its affiliations are wide-reaching, the group’s anti-war message is a powerful throughline, and its commitment to fighting the racist and anti-immigrant pomposity of Trump’s election is something to which we wholeheartedly subscribe, and will support, on January 20.
People’s Power Assembly
This organization will also host a demonstration on January 20. People’s Power Assembly is fighting against Trump’s racist and sexist rhetoric, while also combating the Capitalistic appraisal of one’s humanity being measured by their “market value,” an American tendency valorized by the President-elect. As an organization, PPA focuses on ending police brutality and providing jobs that do not contribute to an over-reliance on Capitalistic ideals, challenging Imperialist tendencies in American government and ensuring an end to all oppression for the already (and continually) disenfranchised.
Events like these, though their reach and impacts vary, help reorient our collective attention and energy on those who are increasingly targeted and whose perspectives are oftentimes masked in struggles for justice. Beyond defaulting to the voices most heard, let’s find ways to also follow the lead of, work alongside and operate on behalf of those whose stakes in this are especially high, and whose messages warrant the same collective attention and support we’ve seen with the Women’s March on Washington.
For a very important reminder of your rights as a demonstrator, make sure to read this.
For more important information regarding your time in D.C., this is a helpful link.