Reclaiming our Time, Reclaiming our Movement, Reclaiming our March
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We the undersigned wish to reclaim our voices, our time, and our march. We write to acknowledge and honor the important political work of Hillary Rodham Clinton along with countless other unnamed women and to oppose the hate speech and appropriation performed in particular by Linda Sarsour on the Women’s March movement. Sarsour in her NBC Nightly appearance claims that the Women’s March would have occurred regardless of Trump or Clinton being elected heavily implying that she erroneously believes in the sexist false equivalency which was rampant during the 2016 campaign and ultimately led to Clinton’s popular win but electoral defeat. This view belongs only to Sarsour and a very small group of people attempting to claim the clout of feminist action for their own political gain. It is a view not espoused by the majority of women and men involved in the March or in the #MeToo movement. Additionally, it subsumes, appropriates, and ignores the speech and action of Teresa Shook who in the wake of the 2016 presidential election started the Women’s March specifically over shock that Clinton was not elected. Sarsour does not speak for us and has destroyed the integrity of our movement. The creator of the Woman’s March is Teresa Shook. Shook and the women she inspired have been written out and silenced by Sarsour and her colleagues who are promoting divisive and racist tactics in the name of feminism and effectively defrauding women by channeling funds raised by the women’s march not to women’s charities and female candidates but to one unpopular male candidate with a record of sexist rhetoric. We did not “elect”, support or endorse Sarsour or her comments and we expect that her falsehoods be treated as such. She did not found the Women’s March, and most women who March disagree vehemently with her reactionary and hateful positions.
Sarsour’s position regarding Israel particularly in relation to Palestine is arguably defensible but belongs to her and her alone. Moreover her personal position does not excuse many of her other comments which largely call for the erasure or exclusion of particularly Jews but also several individuals and groups from various marches and progressive efforts. She has been denounced by the ADL in a statement made on 25 May 2017 which included the phrase, “we oppose her stance that one cannot be simultaneously a feminist and pro-Israel.” Her views are not shared or condoned by all or even most women and men of various ethnicities, nationalities, and religions. In contrast it is possible albeit difficult to support both Israel and Palestine as well as be supportive of Jews, Muslims, and feminism all at once. Her divisive, biased and prejudicial views belong to her alone and it is insulting and presumptuous for her to subsume a movement expressly against discrimination in order to justify and support her own reactionary causes. We the undersigned disagree in the strongest of terms. Feminism should be intersectional and inclusive. During the “Chicago Dyke March,” a march meant to promote intersectionality and involving the display of numerous ethnic and cultural symbols Jews were banned not just from carrying the Israeli flag – which arguably would have been problematic for Palestinians and some Muslims – but from carrying or displaying any form of Judaism, both their culture and faith at all. Meanwhile, FBI statistics show that Jews and Muslims have the highest rates of victimization for their faith with Jews suffering over half of all religiously motivated attacks and Muslims suffering a quarter. That rate should be zero for both groups, but erasing Jews is not the means by which that may be achieved. Feminism embraces and supports all women particularly those who help other women. Due to the unwarranted interference of Sarsour and her colleagues Hillary Rodham Clinton was not honored in the DC march. A Secretary of State, a US Senator, an award-winning author, 20 times named most admired; and WINNING more votes than any other presidential candidate besides Obama, and she doesn’t make the Sarsour “cut” for the list of honorees?! Outrageous! Clinton battled sexism her entire life and made major gains for women everywhere and has been rewarded here with thinly veiled misogyny from three women fallaciously claiming to be feminists. Thousands of women wished for Hillary Rodham Clinton to be included and honored sparking the #AddHerName protest and a popular petition penned by Sonja Clay. A popular phrase in the Women’s march, “Women’s rights are human rights,” was popularized by Hillary Clinton during her speech at the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. This phrase is used repeatedly without crediting Clinton or either Sarah Moore Grimke or Angelina Grimke Weld who in the 1830s penned similar if not identical statements. Due to the appropriation of the march however Clay, Clinton, and thousands of other women felt that their voices had been coopted and that they would not be welcome. Millions of women attended the march in spite of the divisive rhetoric in the hope that the movement would not be so sullied. However, in view of Sarsour’s continued attempts to steal and reframe the Women’s march/movement into something it is not, we must RECLAIM OUR MARCH!
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