The 2018 Women’s March, held on Jan. 20, sparked record turnout for the annual liberal gathering.
But the organizers behind last month’s “Justice March” didn’t experience the same kind of success with their event. Organizers told attendees at the New York Women’s March that they were no longer working with the Women’s March, and alleged that its organizers had slighted them and scuttled what they called a “pro-peace” rally they had planned to support the ten detained peaceful civil-rights activists.
But on Saturday, only a few protesters from January’s Women’s March showed up at the event. One explanation for the lukewarm response, organizers said, was that the supporters who had joined the “Justice March” – while devout followers of Justice March organizer Alicia Garza – were unfamiliar with the history of the Women’s March or with the anti-Trump organizers behind it.
“We had not met before Saturday,” Linda Sarsour, one of the Women’s March leaders, told The Washington Post. “What’s very sad is, they’re not coming to the same thing that we are.”
Women’s March organizers had sent an announcement about the Justice March to their phone numbers on Thursday. By Friday afternoon, however, the most common response to the idea of a Justice March was “naah.” Many of the tweets that many of the organizers of the protest got on Friday morning simply said, “Stay out of it.”
There may have been some confusion on the part of supporters of the Women’s March about the link between the two organizations, given that many believed that the January march was the continuation of the Women’s March and that the Justice March was completely separate.
Sarsour told NPR that some of the “guests” who were invited to the event had a “pretty cynical view” of the Women’s March, saying the two events never had much to do with each other. She accused the organizers of the Saturday event of trying to “move the spotlight” away from the January event and onto their protest.
The Justice March was the official end-all for many members of the Women’s March.
Sarsour explained that she had attended as part of a delegation of her organization, the Arab American Association of New York, who said they were going to “have the last laugh” at the “many powerful people who are still perpetuating the false narrative that we’re anti-police.”
According to most protesters I spoke to, their involvement with the Women’s March had been intended as a protest against Donald Trump and his administration. According to Sarsour, who previously tweeted about the three month delay of the arrests, the scheduled protesters had wanted to represent the other side – the peaceful campers who had taken over the grassy space outside the Capitol in January.
“This wasn’t about a party,” one speaker at the event, former Navy SEAL Chase Weber, said, “this was about democracy and love for one another.”
But the closest many who had attended January’s Women’s March had gotten to anything resembling pro-Trump, was attending a rally in support of the White House.
“We understand that a huge amount of people are disappointed that this decision was made,” Awad Aburumah, another Justice March organizer, told NPR, adding that, unlike the January march, the Justice March would be “nonviolent” because, according to organizers, the People’s House was “not for politics.”
In a statement, organizers of Saturday’s event said they disagreed with the views of their critics.
“As activists of color and abolitionists, we will not be silenced.” Sarsour said on Saturday. “We need this unity now more than ever.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
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