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The Women's March, originating in Washington, D.C., came to Tennessee raising awareness for women's rights on Jan. 21 through downtown Nashville, TN. Celeste Malone | The All State

Women’s March 2019

This previous weekend thousands gathered across the country to advocate for women’s rights and racial equality. On Jan. 19, 2019, the Women’s March drew around 1,000 people to their cause in Nashville, Tennessee, even after the controversy has rocked the organizers.

The Women’s March Washington was the main march. The number of people attending compared to previous years has dropped undeniably and most contribute this to the controversy with co-president, Tamika Mallory.

The Women’s March began in 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march’s main goal was to show opposition and push for gender equality for all women instead of just white women. Their movement has been based on the idea of intersectional feminism which includes women from many diffident backgrounds and many different problems.

The Women’s March 2017 broke previous records in the U.S concerning protest turnouts. It is estimated that somewhere from around 3,250,000 and 5,250,000 people participated across the country. States like Alaska even had their own march which brought a few thousand people. This was the first year of the event.

The Women’s March of 2018 main focus was the midterm election. Last year the goal was to encourage more people to register to vote and follow through. They called it the “Power to the Polls” and it worked. Since the midterm election in November, the number of women in office has risen to its highest point now. It still by no means equal to the number of men serving, but it is progress and progress needs to be celebrated.

This year, the Women’s March 2019, has faced some criticism because of a couple of the march’s organizers. The controversy has led to a reduction in funding from groups that have participated every year leading to this. Groups like the DNC and the NAACP have withdrawn their support following the comments made by Tamika Mallory, co-president of the march.

The controversy comes from Mallory posting a picture with Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan is a minister of Islam and a civil rights figure. Farrakhan has drawn criticism over the years and again now for his anti-Semitic comments. Mallory has refused to distance herself from her relationship with Farrakhan though which has only exasperated the complaints many people have had.

“I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements.” Mallory stated in her response which some have deemed is not enough of a rejection of his statements. She referenced her record as an activist in the interview on The View and states that her 20 years of experience should not be thrown away by her continued connection with Farrakhan.

The Women’s March’s official website issued a statement stating that the movement “exists to fight bigotry and discrimination in all their forms– including homophobia and antisemitism.” Mallory is still the co-president as of Jan. 18, 2019.

The march still drew crowds this year and the movement still matters. One person cannot and should not be the reason women stop uniting to fight for equality. In order to keep the movement strong, the next step will have to be that either Mallory withdraws her complete support of Minister Farrakhan or sets down as co-president. People have a reason to be upset about her support of an anti-Semite, the movement’s main goal is equality for all and that includes the Jewish community.

The reason the Women’s March matters is because it joined people together in a way that has never been done. The people dedicated to women’s rights still should march and still should be vocal because that is the only way to continue the conversation and bring awareness to many issues.

This movement’s controversy should be addressed, but also feminism should not just be about a brand. Feminism is about the fight for equality between the genders not matter a personal background, not the label or the organizers of the march. Most people marching are normal and incredible women who are willing to fight so that the next generation will not have to.

The Women’s March official site’s mission statement says they are “committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.” everyone should be to.

The Women’s March isn’t about the leaders, it is about all the people committed to the fight for equality for everyone. It is about all the fighting already done and all the fighting that will still need to happen. Educate people, talk about issues of different communities with an open mind. We can do better.

About Amanda Tackett

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