Since its inception, the Women’s March has worked toward human dignity and social justice. The event – originally held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 21, 2017 – was the largest single-day protest in United States history. Since then, the event has taken place annually at the national level in Washington, DC, and in the form of sister marches throughout various major cities across the United States. This year’s march – slated for January 19 and led by a 32-member steering committees – will feature women from all walks of life, including Ana Maria Archila of the Center for Popular Democracy, Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, Bamby Salcedo of Translatin@ Coalition, and Marisa Franco of Mijente – Latinas with a history of fighting for our communities
Despite the representation of women of color in leadership roles, the Women’s March hit a rough patch this month when leaders of the march were accused of anti-Semitism, which resulted in organizers at state levels to distance themselves from the group. Two leaders were accused of saying at a private organizing meeting that Jews were especially responsible for the oppression of people of color – a claim both leaders have denied in the media.
The controversy has only served to strengthen several Latinas’ commitment to the march. By continuing to stay involved, they ensure they have a say in how the event unfolds and that the march’s goals align with those from underrepresented communities.
“At this moment, women of many walks of life are leading virtually every social movement in this country,” says Franco, Mijente director and co-founder, in a statement. “Women’s March is all about us doing that work, including many of us whose labor often goes unseen. It is powerful to have the opportunity to work alongside so many women who are on the ground day in and day out organizing to transform our movements and the world we live in.”
Jimenez, who also serves on the Steering Committee, says the march is dedicated to pushing for inclusivity and equal access. Women of color have taken the lead in providing feedback for this year’s policy agenda, which will be presented as part of the march. They will then push for support of that agenda in the halls of Congress and on the streets long after the event ends.
As thousands gather on Washington, many others will join the march in other parts of the country. Many of these partnerships come from aligned immigration rights goals, particularly in terms of fighting for the protection of communities impacted by the Trump Administration’s decisions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status.
But she says the women of the Steering Committee are keenly aware of a country-wide white nationalist agenda and the group’s working to ensure those issues don’t infiltrate the march, adding that an attack on one person is an attack on all.
“I know there’s been recognition within the leadership of the women’s march of really wanting to restore any harm or anything that could have been done better in the moment,” she tells me.
The agenda will touch on a variety of issues from ending violence against women to economic justice.
Make the Road Connecticut, which advocates for low-income and working-class Latinos living in Bridgeport and Hartford, and is part of the Center for Popular Democracy network, has its leaders speaking at the Hartford Women’s March.
Among them is Rosario Tepoz Xilotl, a mother of two and member of Madres Guerreras committee of Make the Road Connecticut. Originally from Mexico, Xilotl has been in Hartford for five years and will share her own experiences and passion for immigrant and immigrant parent rights.
“We are an organization that is predominantly Latina/Latino/Latinx, but also heavily Indigenous and African and of color. A lot of the people who are doing the work on the ground and who are organizing are women,” says Make the Road CT director Barbara Lopez. “We want to make sure we’re represented and that our voices are heard, not just for women here now, but for generations to come.”
The #WomensWave in Washington, along with more than 200 sister marches across the country and dozens around the world, begins at 10 .am. at the corner of 12 Street and Jefferson Drive SW on the National Mall. The march begins at 11 a.m. followed by the rally at 1 p.m. at Constitution Gardens. Learn more at www.womensmarch.com.