On Saturday, the third annual Women’s March took place, and thousands of women gathered in cities across the country including Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.. The event drew smaller crowds than from previous years, but there was a strong spirit of justice present. One of the largest things they celebrated was the fact that an unprecedented number of women were elected to Congress this year and the House was flipped to Democrats.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke at the Women’s March in New York although the Democratic Party had pulled its sponsorship of the rally due to accusations of anti-Semitism aimed at the march’s leaders. Ocasio-Cortez gave a dynamic speech about justice, saying:
‘Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about if we can stay with our children after we have them for a just amount of time. Mothers, fathers, and all parents.’
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) January 19, 2019
Criticism came for the rally this year after Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory refused to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan during a recent interview. Farrakhan has a history of anti-Semitic statements. According to The Washington Post:
‘The controversy prompted several high-profile supporters and progressive organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, to pull their support for the rally. Many women who previously went out of their way to attend opted to stay home and support independent groups.’
In an op-ed, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) wrote:
‘I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.’
Sydney Gart, an eighteen year-old freshman from American University who is Jewish chose to march and said she did want controversies to keep her from supporting all women. Gart said:
‘As Jewish women, we can’t stand idly by. This was a great way of showing that we’re strong and we’re resilient. . . . We’re going to march with our Torah, it’s so amazing.’
Ocasio-Cortez addressed the crowd regarding the controversy about anti-Semitism. She said:
‘I think that right now in this moment, in the United States, we have to center this conversation. I think concerns of anti-Semitism with the current administration in the White House are absolutely valid, and we need to make sure we are protecting the Jewish community and all those that feel vulnerable in this moment.
‘I think right now as it pertains to today it is so important to recognize why all of these women are coming together and the reason that all these people are coming together is to make sure that the rights of women are protected in advance. And so I know in my heart that all of the New Yorkers that are coming down here and downtown are coming in that spirit, and not in the other spirit.’
— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2019
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube