One day after Donald Trump officially becomes the 45th president of the United States, an estimated 200,000 people will descend on Washington D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. During his campaign, Trump demonized communities of color and threatened protections – like women’s reproductive rights and anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws – that took immense effort to build. With a focus on intersectionality, police brutality, and economic and racial justice, the march is highlighting issues that have existed before the Era of Trump and will extend beyond his presidency.
In just two months, organizers behind the Women’s March put together an event that could be “the largest mass mobilization that any new administration has seen on its first day,” according to national co-chair Linda Sarsour. There’s even 300 sister marches scheduled across the country. But since the beginning, its garnered backlash. Originally titled the Million Woman March, organizers changed the name after accusations of appropriation, according to Fusion. In 1997, African-American women organized the Million Woman March to protest feminists ignoring the issues that plague people of color. Therefore, it became the Women’s March on Washington – which some have said is still not inclusive enough. Critics also denounced that only white women were originally at the forefront of the march, Vox reports.
On the day of the election, Hawaiian grandmother Tricia Shook created a Facebook invite to ask about 40 of her friends to join her in protesting the election. When she woke up the next morning, she learned that Pantsuit Nation got ahold of the invitation, causing it to snowball. 10,000 people RSVP’d. Shook – who didn’t have any experience planning an event of that scale – reached out to Bob Bland, a New York-based fashion designer and entrepreneur. Bland brought on Vanessa Wruble, head of the organization Okayafrica, who explained the importance of adding women of color to the group’s leadership.
The organizers have since tried to correct and make it an inclusive event. Currently, Black, Muslim, and Latina civil rights activists – including Sarsour, Tamika D. Mallory, Colombian-born filmmaker Paola Mendoza, and Gathering for Justice’s Carmen Perez – make up the heart of the organizing efforts. And earlier this month, organizers released a five-page document that summarizes what the march stands for, which specifically acknowledges women of color’s plight. “Women of color are killed in police custody at greater rates than white women, are more likely to be sexually assaulted by police,” the document, titled Guiding Vision and definition of Principles, reads. Another section talks about women of color within the global and domestic economic landscape.
“We recognize that women of color carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy,” the document continues. “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.”
Yet, there’s still warranted reservations. In a Colorlines piece, Jamilah Lemieux, vice president of news and programming and Interactive One, explains that she can’t bring herself to attend the event because she doesn’t want to put her “body on the line” and “feign solidarity” with women who haven’t supported women of color prior to the election. In the face of Trump’s misogynistic comments and actions during the election, many expected that he’d have a low turnout with women. However, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, so she’s leery of what to expect at the march. “Will the Women’s March on Washington be a space filled primarily with participants who believe that Black lives matter?” she wrote. “I’m not sure, especially considering the attitudes of some who have publicly stated that they don’t want to hear calls for attendees to check their White privilege at the proverbial door.”
At the same time, it’s important to note that women of color will play an important role come Saturday. The recently released speakers list reveals that Angela Davis, Donna Hylton, Sarsour, and Roslyn Brock will share their wisdom and their many varied experiences. And so will Latinas. These are the six Latinas who will share the spotlight at the Women’s March on Washington:
In the last three decades, Aída Hurtado has made significant contributions to Chicana and Chicano studies. In 2015, she was named the scholar of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. Her work also touches on feminist theory, representations of ethnic and racial groups in the media, social identity, and equity issues in education.
America Ferrera, who currently stars in NBC’s Superstore, was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during the election. She has advocated for diversity on screen and has called immigration a feminist issue. “When you talk about the immigration issue, immigration is a feminist issue as well, and we need to start thinking about it as such,” she said.
Currently, the executive director of Gathering for Justice, Carmen Perez has spent her most of her life working to transform the lives of the youth, especially those in and out of the criminal justice system. At Gathering for Justice and its spin-off Justice League work together to look at both sides of the issue. For example, if one deals with police brutality, the other looks at mass incarceration. “What we try to do at the Justice League is find the intersectionality between different movements. We understand that if a person doesn’t have a living wage, they’re more likely to end up in the system,” she told Refinery 29. “We understand that if people are undocumented, they don’t have access to quality healthcare, education, things like that,” she said. “So for us, it’s important to bridge these movements.”
Undocumented activist and DREAMer Erika Andiola rose to prominence after immigration officials raided her home in 2013. She filmed herself urging for change in our immigration policy, and the campaign she launched got her family released from detention. In 2015, Andiola joined Bernie Sanders’ campaign as Latino Outreach Strategist for the Southwestern Region, which was considered a boon by pro-comprehensive-reform activists.After Sanders’ defeat against Hillary Clinton in the primary race, Andiola jumped right into her next role with People’s Revolution. Instead of focusing her energy on supporting Sanders after he no longer stood a chance in the race, she focused on down-ballot races and worked to make a change at the local and state level.
Sophie Cruz is a young immigration activist who first caught our attention when she bypassed Pope Francis’ security to deliver a letter urging him to ask President Barack Obama to pass immigration reform. The daughter of two undocumented parents, Sophie has continued to fight for her parents and for other children who are in her position.
In December, Wendy Carrillo threw her hat in the ring for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives. Carrillo – who was born in El Salvador – rejects Trump’s stereotypical views of inner-cities, which he called hells on multiple occasions. Growing up in Boyle Heights, she has a more accurate idea of what inner-cities represent. “We thrive, we live, and we are resilient against all odds,” she added. “We find incredible challenges and find resourceful ways to move forward. We are not criminals or rapists or terrorists or people that don’t have a voice. We are the future of this country and we are taking our rightful place in it.”