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U.S. Capital Expects Thousands Of Women To Attend 3rd Annual March

Despite the controversy, marches are planned in almost every U.S. state.

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Women's March
Kelly Duncan chants with "Gone 2020" slogan painted on her cheek as she participates in the Second Annual Women's March in Washington, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

Thousands of women are gathering in cities in the United States and around the world Saturday for the third annual Women’s March to demand gender equality and call attention to environmental concerns and immigrant rights, among other issues.

The beginning

The first Women’s March was held in 2017, the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.

On Trump’s first full day in office, hundreds of thousands of women descended on Washington in a display of popular opposition to the new administration and its policies. Sister marches were held in more than 600 locations in the U.S. and across the globe in solidarity with the marchers in Washington.

Peter Newsham, Washington’s interim police chief at the time, said of the march in the U.S. capital, “The crowd stretches so far that there’s no room left to march.”

Women's March,
People carrying signs join hundreds of demonstrators in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

Many of the women wore knitted pink “pussycat” hats, featuring small catlike ears, to show their solidarity with the anti-Trump sentiments and as an oblique reference to vulgar comments Trump was known to have made years before he entered politics.

Moment to movement

In 2018, organizers of the Women’s March sought to build on the first rally by focusing on politics and the power of women voters. They held the second march in Nevada, a battleground state for the midterm elections later in the year. The rally touting the message “Power to the Polls” focused on voter registration, featuring activists and members of Congress as speakers.

As in 2017, sister marches were held in cities across the U.S. and thousands of women also marched in London, Paris, Sydney and other European and Australian cities.

In 2019, the organizers are bringing the march back to Washington. Hopes were high for this year’s turnout, especially after a record 102 women were elected to the House of Representatives in the midterms at the end of last year.

Women's March
People listen to speeches at the Women’s March in opposition to the agenda and rhetoric of President Donald Trump in Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. VOA

A growing controversy

Several prominent women’s and civil rights organization are absent from the list of partners published on the Women’s March website.

Among those that had partnered with the group in the past, but missing in 2019, are civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center and the political action committee Emily’s List. By late Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee had also withdrawn its name from the list of partners.

The controversy surrounds several Women’s March leaders who have been accused of holding racist and anti-Semitic views.

Organizers have repeatedly denied all accusations of misconduct or using inappropriate speech.

The issue resurfaced when two of the march’s organizers appeared on ABC talk show The View on Monday and refused to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has made repeated anti-Semitic and anti-white remarks.

Women's March
Eight-year-old Zoe Rodis leans on her mother Jennifer Rodis, right, during a Women’s March rally, Jan. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. VOA

When asked why she had posted a photo of Farrakhan on Instagram with a caption that included the hashtag for the title “Greatest Of All Time,” Women’s March’s co-president Tamika Mallory said, “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.”

Mallory’s co-president, Bob Bland, denied allegations printed in The New York Times and the Jewish magazine Tablet that members of the organization had expressed anti-Semitic beliefs at a meeting behind closed doors.

“The people that the journalist spoke to did not tell the truth, period, full stop,” Bland said. “The Women’s March unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism, bigotry, transphobia. … We condemn any statements of hate.”

Going forward

Some marchgoers say they are not deterred.

“The controversy has certainly influenced conversations around my decision to attend or not. Though it never was going to stop me, even more so I feel it’s important to attend,” said Naomi Zipursky of San Francisco. She will be in Washington Saturday.

Women's March
People hold an American flag during the second annual Women’s March in Los Angeles, California, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

“By not showing up, I don’t even allow the conversation to begin and only create a bigger gap.”

“The thought that I, as a Jewish woman, wouldn’t be welcome or would need to leave part of my identity at the door in order to attend the march is disheartening and frankly, alienating,” Zipursky said. “(But) I also believe that what one person may say or do doesn’t necessarily represent what an entire organization may stand for.”

A separate “March for ALL Women” is planned for Saturday in the U.S. capital, with organizers rallying those who may feel the main march is divisive and not inclusive.

Many participants don’t think the marches will ever compare to the first one.

“It’s going to be very hard to pull off the momentum of the first women’s march,” said Mary Tablante, communications officer at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “I am still going (this year) because I do think they are trying to improve it. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the movement.”

Also Read: Women Living in Countries with Gender Equality have better Cognitive Test Scores: Study

Despite the controversy, marches are planned in almost every U.S. state. ABC News reports some states will hold multiple marches: California plans to have more than 30 marches, New York 15, Texas, 13 and Florida 11. Michigan will host eight and Pennsylvania seven.

Marches are also planned in more than a dozen European nations, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Israel, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa, among others. (VOA)

Next Story

Donald Trump to Declare ‘Emergency’, Use Military Funds for Mexico Border Wall

He will sign a border security bill to avert a government shutdown, but also act to bypass Congress and use military funds for the wall, a statement said.

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Donald Trump
R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills blasted Carpe Donktum and Trump on Saturday. Pixabay

US President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency to fund his planned border wall with Mexico, the White House has said.

He will sign a border security bill to avert a government shutdown, but also act to bypass Congress and use military funds for the wall, a statement said.

Senior Democrats have responded by accusing him of committing a “gross abuse of power” and a “lawless act”, the BBC reported on Friday.

The Congress passed the bill on Thursday which does not meet Trump’s demands for wall funding. It now has to be signed by the President to become law.

 

Donald Trump, Mexico
Senior Democrats have responded by accusing him of committing a “gross abuse of power” and a “lawless act”. VOA

The compromise legislation passed by Congress includes $1.3 billion in funding for border security, including physical barriers, but it does not allot money towards the border wall for which Trump had wanted $5.7 billion.

“The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday.

She added he would “take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border”.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, however, Republican leader Mitch McConnell indicated his support for the move, saying the President was taking action with “whatever tools he can legally use to enhance his efforts to secure the border”.

In a 83-16 vote, the Senate on Thursday passed the border security bill. The House of Representatives later also backed the measure, by 300 to 128.

 

US, Donald Trump
“The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. VOA

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has already suggested a legal challenge from Democrats should the President make an emergency declaration.

She and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also issued a joint statement condemning the move.

 

ALSO READ: Mexico Announced to Relocate Central American Migrants, 4 People Injured

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” they said.

Republicans fear this will set a precedent for presidential power that Democrats can someday use to circumvent the will of Congress. (IANS)