Most articles written regarding the Women’s March always begin in the most inspired, proud, accomplished tones. This definitely isn’t going to be one of them. I’m neither proud nor inspired by this year’s march — I’m disappointed.
I guess you could say I walked in with high expectations. I figured the third time’s the charm — and the Women’s Wave would arrive in tsunami form. Yet the numbers drastically dwindled from last year. The spark ignited two years ago upon Donald Trump’s inauguration faded out, and this march was merely left in embers.
I am very much aware of the lack of funding, unpredictable weather and most importantly the rumors of antisemitism that caused much hesitation in regards to attendance. These rumors were very much he-said-she-said, but the root of the claims were in regards to some of the leaders’ ties to Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Recently, Tamika Mallory, one of the founders, posted a picture with Farrakhan, captioned “GOAT.” This one post sparked great outrage among the Jewish community, as Farrakhan has made antisemitic comments in the past.
Before I begin defending Mallory, I definitely should make it clear that antisemitism (and bigotry in any form) should absolutely not be tolerated. With that being said, I do think it is unfair to put Mallory under fire for Farrakhan’s quotes. The Women’s March co-founder, among her colleagues, made it very clear she does not see eye-to-eye with everything the minister stands for.
“I called him the greatest of all time because of what he has done in black communities,” Mallory said. “Just because you go into a space with someone does not mean you agree with everything that they say.”
More so, attacking Mallory for her ties to the Nation of Islam is extremely unfair, considering how much the organization has done for the progression of African-Americans. Mallory isn’t the only black leader who has hesitated to condemn Farrakhan, as that would mean condemning years of African-American advocacy.
Mallory shouldn’t be held responsible for the words of another man. Gandhi was misogynistic. John Lennon was an abusive husband. John Wayne was a white supremacist. We continue to support men accused of sexual assault. We watch their shows, read their books, listen to their music and buy tickets to their concert. Jeff Bezos cheated on his wife, but that certainly won’t stop us from adding item upon item to our Amazon shopping cart.
So why should the words of Farrakhan cause an attack on not only Tamika Mallory, but the whole Women’s March? The march is one of the most intersectional movements our country has ever been hit with. Cities across the country were flooded with people of all different shapes, sizes, sexualities, colors, creeds, nationalities, parties and backgrounds for the past two years. It was a shame to see the march look so different, and quite smaller this year. It feels like we took a giant step backwards.
This year many independent marches broke out in light of this news. But aren’t we all marching for the same thing? Equity, fairness, understanding, justice for all. Let’s unite under those beliefs and stop acting like the petty women we are stereotyped to be (I have a seperate lecture coming for ya, men). Don’t give up on the Women’s March just yet, it’s time to get to work again.