The Majority of the New Women’s March Board Undermined the Women’s March

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Shepard Fairey ‘s We The People series, January 19, 2017

The next time Marissa J. Lang writes an article about the Women’s March for the Washington Post, she needs to interview key stakeholders of the Women’s March- the women who came together time and again in DC, in Detroit, in Las Vegas, to protest family separation, to protest Kavanaugh, and to march.

Why is she interviewing academic “experts” on movements?

No Marissa, “The group’s long-standing ambition to create a “big tent” for women with different backgrounds has resulted in confusion over what the Women’s March stands for.”

There is no confusion whatsoever about what Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland and the women who protested with them stand for and what we accomplished.

The single largest protest in US history.

The Unity Principles in 2017:

● We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.
This is the basic and original tenet for which we unite to March on Washington.
● We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which all women — including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Jewish women, Muslim women, Latinx women, Asian and Pacific Islander women,
lesbian, bi, queer and trans women — are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
● Women have the right to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies. One in three women have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime; and one in five women have been raped. Further, each year, thousands of women
and girls, particularly Black, Indigenous and transgender women and girls, are kidnapped, trafficked, or murdered. We honor the lives of those women who were taken before their time and we affirm that we
work for a day when all forms of violence against women are eliminated. We believe that gun violence is a women’s issue and that guns are not how we keep our communities free from violence.
● We believe in accountability and justice for police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color and Indigenous peoples. Women of color and Indigenous women are killed in police custody at greater rates, and are more likely to be sexually assaulted by police, and
women with disabilities are disproportionately likely to experience use of force at the hands of police, and sexual assault in general. We also call for an immediate end to arming police with the military grade weapons and military tactics that are wreaking havoc on communities of color and sovereign tribal
lands. No woman or mother should have to fear that she or her loved ones will be harmed at the hands of those sworn to protect.
● We believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system. The rate of imprisonment has grown faster for women than men, increasing by 700% since 1980, and the majority of women in prison have a child under the age of 18. Incarcerated
women also face a high rate of violence and sexual assault. We are committed to ensuring access to gender-responsive programming and dedicated healthcare including substance abuse treatment, mental
and maternal health services for women in prison. We believe in the promise of restorative justice and alternatives to incarceration. We are also committed to disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline that prioritizes incarceration over education by systematically funneling our children — particularly children
of color, queer and trans youth, foster care children, and girls — into the justice system.
● We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal,
affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. We understand that we can only have reproductive justice when reproductive health care is accessible to all
people regardless of income, location or education.
● We believe in Gender Justice. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes. We must free ourselves and our society from the institution of awarding power, agency and resources disproportionately to masculinity to the exclusion of others.
● We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, two-spirit or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. This includes access to non-judgmental, comprehensive healthcare with no exceptions or limitations; access to name and gender changes on identity documents; full antidiscrimination protections; access to education, employment, housing and benefits; and an end to police
and state violence.
● We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity. We believe that creating workforce opportunities that reduce discrimination against women and mothers allow economies to thrive. Nations and industries that support and invest in caregiving and basic
workplace protections — including benefits like paid family leave, access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, fair pay, vacation time, and healthy work environments — have shown growth and increased capacity.
● We believe in equal pay for equal work and the right of all women to be paid equitably. We must end the pay and hiring discrimination that women, particularly mothers, women of color, Indigenous women, lesbian, queer and trans women still face each day in our nation, as well as discrimination
against workers with disabilities, who can currently legally be paid less than federal minimum wage. Many mothers have always worked and in our modern labor force; and women are now 50% of all family breadwinners. We stand for the 82% of women who become moms, particularly moms of color,
being paid, judged, and treated fairly. Equal pay for equal work will lift families out of poverty and boost our nation’s economy.
● We recognize that women of color and Indigenous women carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy. We further affirm that all care work — caring for the elderly, caring for the chronically ill, caring for children and supporting
independence for people with disabilities — is work, and that the burden of care falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women, particularly women of color. We stand for the rights, dignity, and fair treatment of all unpaid and paid caregivers. We must repair and replace the systemic disparities that
permeate caregiving at every level of society.
● We believe that all workers — including domestic and farm workers — must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our
labor protections, and we stand in full solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights.
● We believe Civil Rights are our birthright. Our Constitutional government establishes a framework to provide and expand rights and freedoms–not restrict them. To this end, we must protect and restore all the Constitutionally-mandated rights to all our citizens, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability. We honor and respect tribal laws and jurisdictions.
● We support Indigenous women’s right to access, own, develop and control land and its resources. We affirm that now is the time for the U.S. implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to honor existing treaty rights and fulfill promises made.
● We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and Deaf women. As mothers, sisters, daughters, and contributing members of this great nation, we seek to break barriers to access, inclusion, independence, and the full enjoyment of citizenship at home and around the world. We strive to be fully included in and contribute to all aspects of American life, economy, and culture.
● We believe it is time for an all-inclusive Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Most Americans believe the Constitution guarantees equal rights, but it does not. The 14th Amendment has been undermined by courts and cannot produce real equity on the basis of race and/or sex. And in a
true democracy, each citizen’s vote should count equally. All Americans deserve equality guarantees in the Constitution that cannot be taken away or disregarded, recognizing the reality that inequalities intersect, interconnect and overlap.
● Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. It is our moral duty to keep families together and empower all aspiring Americans to fully participate in, and contribute to, our
economy and society. We reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against queer and trans migrants. Immigration reform must establish a roadmap to citizenship, and provide equal opportunities and workplace protections for all. We recognize that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to the United States, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
● We believe that every person, every community and Indigenous peoples in our nation have the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be
exploited for corporate gain or greed — especially at the risk of public safety and health.
● We recognize that to achieve any of the goals outlined within this statement, we must work together to end war and live in peace with our sisters and brothers around the world. Ending war means
a cessation to the direct and indirect aggression caused by the war economy and the concentration of power in the hands of a wealthy elite who use political, social, and economic systems to safeguard and
expand their power.

Pushing women’s Power to the Polls.

Organizing the largest woman-led act of civil disobedience in US history to oppose family separation.

Inspiring a generation to protest Kavanaugh.

The Women’s March made the Democrats take over the House. The Women’s March got the Squad elected.

The Women’s March created the Women’s Agenda in 2019, a bold intersectional policy platform, making it clear that women’s issues include
• Ending Violence Against Women & Femmes
• Ending State Violence
• Reproductive Rights & Justice
• Racial Justice
• LGBTQIA+ Rights
• Immigrant Rights
• Economic Justice & Worker’s Rights
• Civil Rights & Liberties
• Disability Rights
• Environmental Justice

Tamika, Linda, Carmen and Bob spent hours and hours listening to their critics, building relationships, and weaving together the first truly intersectional women’s movement in the United States.

And then they created a process to welcome a new board of directors because they never envisioned being at the forefront for too long.

They sought to expand the leadership to be representative of women throughout the United States. And their careful process resulted in a diverse intersectional national new board.

And what did the majority of the new board do?

Turn on the founding board. Accuse them of financial impropriety. Claim that they had been brought in to “clean up.”

The new board’s first act was to throw a Muslim woman under the bus. It is OUTRAGEOUS that the new Board voted Zahra Billoo off the Board.

It is painful to watch women of color on the new board acquiesce to white women who feel threatened by the Women’s March ability to mobilize and unleash women’s power.

It is painful to watch women listen to Russian bots who accuse Linda and Tamika of antisemitism instead of listening to Linda and Tamika.

It is painful to see not a single Black woman in the Executive Committee of the new board.

The majority of the new Board has undermined the Women’s March.

I am forever in gratitude to Tamika Linda Carmen and Bob for their selfless service to all of us, for being cycle breakers. I am forever grateful for all the amazing women I met and formed lifelong bonds with through the Women’s March.

Any of you call an action, I am there. Any of you need me, I am there. Also SF local Women’s March is awesome.

But as for the new Board, unless they reinstate Zahra, I cannot.

I urge the New Board to practice restorative justice and accountability. To read Marcie Wells’ posts protesting the new Board’s actions here and here, Patrisse Cullors Harvard Law Review Article Abolition And Reparations: Histories of Resistance, Transformative Justice, And Accountability and Ann Russo’s Feminist Accountability.

And to bring Zahra back on the Board, and to honor the original Board for their tireless and selfless service.

This is PRECISELY the moment when we most need each other, when women must unite and trust each other.

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Karen Fleshman is an attorney, activist, single soccer mom, and a nationally recognized expert on racism, feminism, workplace fair practices, police brutality, and politics. Working in nonprofits and local government, Karen came to understand that racism is the underlying problem in our society. In 2014, she founded Racy Conversations, a workshop facilitation company, to inspire the first majority antiracist generation in US history. She is the author of “White Women We Need to Talk: Doing Our Part to End Racism” to be published by Sounds True in 2020.

Founder, Racy Conversations Inspiring the antiracist generation.

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