No, I didn’t march in the Women’s March. Here’s why.
Last year, I marched with women in the Denver Women’s March and attended the rally afterwards. I admit that I was particularly reticent to go because I had been watching some shenanigans happening in social media in so-called progressive feminist spaces filled with white women. Two of the groups I was in, Tribe de Mama and Pantsuit Nation pulled back the curtain on the dark side of progressive white feminism and showed the dark underbelly. In those groups, silencing women of color who dared speak out and name micro aggressions and racial abuse was all too common. Many of my fellow Women of Color left these groups after attempting to collectively stand our ground and realizing it was an exercise in futility.
After that experience, seeing the rage and seething animosity that was so easily provoked in the white feminist circles made me wonder about whether I would have a place at the Women’s March.
When I arrived, I was greeted with a sea of strangely happy white faces with pink pussycat hats. During the remainder of the day, I alternated between hope and despair; hope when the speakers would say something particularly inspirational and despair when I looked around and realized that this Women’s March didn’t accurately reflect my experience or the experience of other women of color.
Many times during the day, I would experience the same micro aggressions women of color experience daily. While I could cite examples, the fact is that it became very clear within a short period of time that this women’s march really wasn’t about ALL women. The planning committee in the beginning failed to include women of color at all and many refused to acknowledge the implications of race in their dialogues.
This was a show of solidarity for white feminism, not intersectional feminism.
This year, I wrestled with whether I would go back and after some internal debate I opted out. While there has been some progress with white feminists in the last year, it hasn’t been enough. There are still many progressive white feminists who continue to perpetuate the harm we have been addressing for ages. Some of the same issues present at last year’s march were present this year.
53% of white women voted for Trump. 63% of white women in Alabama voted for Roy Moore.
To me, the Women’s March is representative of White Feminism that is more vocal about “grab them by the pussy” than they are about Trayvon Martin/Sandra Bland/Philando Castile being murdered. The fact that the mobilizing force was NOT issues that literally cost people of color their lives is deeply problematic. The fact that in the last year, the same women who happily don their pink hats & witty signs have been largely quiet over issues that are quite literally destroying families of color speaks volumes.
Instead of attending the women’s march, I chose to attend the open house of a new healing center, The Healing Garden, whose mission is to “to create a culture of health by reconnecting community members with their innate ability to heal and be well. It is our mission to cultivate a culture of holistic health in Aurora and the Northeast neighborhoods of Denver, Colorado with particular attention to African-Americans and other people of color.”
White feminism is an extension of white supremacy and until the collective body of white feminists has done their work to become intersectional, I have no desire to place myself in that space. Instead, I’ll always choose spaces that uplift and empower people of color where the humanity of people of color isn’t under debate attack or left off the table completely.
*Originally published here: https://www.diversepatriots.com/no-i-didnt-attend-the-womens-march-heres-why/