The fourth annual Women’s March Saturday will not feature any speakers and it’s unclear why. At the organization’s press conference Friday, this reporter asked if the decision was made to avoid last year’s controversy that tied several of the group’s leaders to antisemitic hate groups and the organization’s failure to condemn those ties.
“We are not having speakers this year and we are marching with the marchers because we feel like that’s where the energy is with the movement,” Women’s March Chief Operating Officer Rachel O’Leary Carmona told this reporter.
She concluded, “We want to be with the people and where they are at and it’s not about listening to people talk, it’s about exercising your own power and your own agency and taking the fight right to the White House.”
Last year, O’Leary Carmona acknowledged the issue and said the organization “was learning how to do this work in a new way.”
“There’s no map for what we’re doing, and we’re working it out,” she said.
With no clear indication as to whether 2019’s antisemitism controversy influenced the change to not have speakers in 2020, the question still remains.
2019’s Co-chairs Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez made several antisemitic statements including allegedly saying that the Jews “bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people,” according to the Tablet.
Moreover, Mallory publicly revered Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Black supremacy hate group ‘deeply racist and antisemitic.’
Mallory once shared a picture on Instagram calling him the “GOAT” which stands for “Greatest Of All Time,” but many Jewish people and their allies would argue that’s not the case.
Farrakhan lambasted ‘the wicked Jews’ in an antisemitic speech he made during a ceremony celebrating the genesis of the Nation of Islam in 2006. It wasn’t the first time or the last.
He said, “These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. … It’s the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It’s the wicked Jews, false Jews, that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!”
Several large groups of supporters including the Democratic National Committee, the Southern Poverty Law Center, EMILY’s List, and the National Council of Jewish Women pulled their endorsements as a result. Despite the overwhelming reaction, the organization failed to condemn Farrakhan or its ties to the Nation of Islam.
Women's March co-president @TamikaDMallory on her association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has routinely spoken disparagingly about Jews, and if she condemns his statements: "I don't agree with many of Minister Farrakhan's statements." https://t.co/f8u2wc159S pic.twitter.com/I4py6l3bN7
— The View (@TheView) January 14, 2019
Last year on ABC’s “The View” Mallory argued, “I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric, I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities.”
From the press conference Friday, it’s clear the organization will certainly rally around cries to oust President Donald Trump from the White House.
“Throughout this election cycle, everyone has been asking the same question. Who can beat Trump? I stand here today to say that the answer is simply… I can beat Trump and so can you but only if we fight him and his cronies together and only if we continue to make space for those he wants to make invisible,” Women’s March Executive Board Member and Mijente Deputy Director Isa Noyola told reporters.
She continued, “I will beat Trump by continuing the organizing work that uplifts immigrant communities and by standing shoulder to shoulder with the fight for climate justice and reproductive justice. We will beat Trump if we can continue to remind one another that we have more in common with our neighbor of a different nationality than we have in common with the men in power who seek to divide us.”