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Controversy following up to the march, but calls for unity on the wider issues.

This year’s lead-up to the Women’s March was filled with great controversy, as leaders of The National Women’s March—an organization that derived out of the original 2017 march—faced anti-Semitic allegations.

In the face of this, two separate marches were held in NYC on January 19, 2019. The Women’s March Alliance held the original 2018 route, beginning on the Upper West Side going toward Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. The National Women’s March, having no permit to march, held a rally in Foley Square.

Amidst the divide, newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended both events, wishing to bring unity to the greater issues through her speech.

“It is so incredibly important to uplift all of our voices. And to make sure the least among us advocated the most,” she said. “That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of black women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of trans women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of poor women. And middle-class women. And working-class women. And all women in the United States and in the world.”

“Last year we brought the power to the polls, and this year we need to make sure we translate that power into policy,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “That means we will not let anyone take our rights away. In fact, we will expand them.”

image from ios (7)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Women’s March in NYC. Photograph by Corey Torpie © 2019

In Washington D.C., women and supporters in the thousands gathered, although amassing a significantly lesser number than the half a million people in the original 2017 march. Speakers from Black Lives Matter, Woman on Piscataway, Standing Rock Sioux Nation and union leaders shared their sentiments.

Dozens of U.S. cities participated with marches of their own, including L.A., Denver, Chicago and Boston, among others. More than 100 marches were scheduled worldwide.

As the years go on, it seems people are growing less attuned to showing up, due to several factors such as the aforementioned controversy, activist burnout and success in the debated topics.

In an article for the New York Times, Jo Reger, professor of sociology at Oakland University of Michigan, stated that “marches or movements can lose some momentum when people see some of their issues being addressed. With the recent midterm elections, some may feel like the country is going in a different direction after the Trump election and that may lower the numbers participating.”

Let’s show that women are here to fight for the long run and continue voicing our needs. There are 364 days left before the next Women’s March—what will YOU do to show up?

Featured image by Kisha Bari for Women’s March

Activism starts with community: gather your kickass vinas on the Hey! VINA app to talk all things equality, gender rights and more, then start planning for what you can do next 2020. The future starts with you!


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