Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
January 23, 2017
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This past Saturday, the largest presidential protest in history, the Women’s March on Washington, was held. About 500,000 women marched in Washington, and 1 million total in smaller marches appeared in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Denver, San Fransisco, Austin and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Internationally, 600 marches were held in cities such as Paris, Sydney, Berlin, London, Gangnam, Nairobi and more. Women of all shapes, sizes and races came together to march upon the systemic inequities Trump highlights with every decision he makes. Organized leaders have called this march for gender equality, Black Lives Matter, racial equality, LGBTQ equality, economic justice and reproductive freedom; for equal pay, paid family leave, labor protections, clean water and air, and access to public lands; and for an end to violence against women, police brutality and racial profiling. If that seems like a lot, well, that’s the point.
Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Cameron Perez came to make this march after Trump’s presidential win. Those who attended the march were not grateful; they are not satisfied. They’re insulted by the election of an unrepentant misogynist who’s filling his administration with more of the same. Sarsour, who serves as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, tells Rolling Stone that the message the marchers want to send is that, “from climate justice to racial justice to immigrant rights, reproductive rights, Native rights, we are united. We are committing to work together,” Sarsour commented. “We think that that hasn’t happened in a very clear way in a long time – bringing all the movements together and…saying, ‘We are watching you. We are ready. We are fired up. And we’re ready to fight back and protect our communities.” Speakers from Angela Davis to Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, spoke on the cause and demanded change. Many celebrities like Zendaya, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Ashley Judd, Katy Perry, Cher, Madonna and more have not only supported the efforts of the Women’s March, but they
were also in attendance at the event.
Even though the protest seemed like a good and positive outcome, many women of color faced difficulties during the protest. Many women of color protestors felt excluded from the protest mainly because of the fact that some white women were feeling uncomfortable with signs that read “White Women voted for Trump.” Of course, the sign doesn’t mean all white women, but it’s stating a fact that 53% of white women voted for Trump and that they need to acknowledge that this was not all women. Twitter activist and protester, who goes by the name of Kellyanne Kayne, made a thread on the matter and wrote, “When I first heard about the march following the election, I was extremely hesitant to participate, given it was being organized by white women. But after I saw a concerned effort to hand over much of the organizing and spotlight to women of color, I felt a little different. I wanted to attend the
march, but I felt like I needed to recognize and remind my white sisters that our families had put this man into office. I carried a sign that read ‘White Women elected Trump’ and it made many white women uncomfortable, and that was the point. Black, brown, trans, and queer women have been doing this for far longer and at far greater peril. We are the ones new to this.”