Remove Bernie Sanders from opening the Women's Convention
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On Thursday, October 12th, the Women's March, a movement that formed in late 2016 with the mission to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change,” announced that Senator Bernie Sanders will open the first Women’s Convention, set for October 27-29th in Detroit.
We deeply appreciate the volunteer time, energy, sweat and tears that the Women’s March co-chairs, board, and committees give to this vital movement. Women know that our time and work is often undervalued, underpaid, and unknown. Your work is not unknown. Thank you.
At this moment, however, we must voice our deep disappointment with the choice to have Senator Sanders, a male, open the Women’s Convention.
Sign this petition to let the Women’s Convention organizers know that we do not want Senator Sanders to OPEN the Women’s Convention. We believe a female-identifying individual should open the Women’s Convention, as optics are important, and there is no one more qualified to speak about women’s issues than a woman.
In an October 12th USA Today article, Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory (whom I highly respect), states that Sanders was chosen because he “knows how to mobilize a new generation of activists,” and “is probably one of the most powerful U.S. Senators ... on progressive issues, women’s issues…”
o Bernie does know how to mobilize a new generation of activists (for that we are grateful) but did the organizers forget that WOMEN organized the largest protest in US history?
o Bernie has been a long time champion for progressive values (again, we are grateful)
o Bernie’s voice, and the voices of ALL men, women, non-conforming, non-binary, cis, and transgender people who share a passion for the unity principles of the Women’s March are needed and necessary voices for this movement. We want them at the convention. We want them listening. We want them leading. We want to learn from them, be challenged by them, changed and ignited by them. We even want them speaking at the Convention - just not opening it.
o Optics are extremely important. The Women’s Convention, in her goal of empowering and putting the voices of women on the front lines, should lead by example and have a woman open the convention. The individual who kicks off an event often becomes the “face” of the event. It is only right to have a woman's face for the Women’s Conference. Having a man’s face only continues the invisible presence, work, and voices of women.
o Women are best qualified to speak about women’s issues.
o Sanders' reference to Planned Parenthood as “the establishment” makes him a divisive opener.
Not choosing a woman clearly communicates that the organizers don’t believe a woman is qualified, available, or equal to the task of opening the Women’s Convention, and further communicates there are no strong female leaders in our nation right now. We know this is not true and strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to have Bernie Sanders open the convention.
Mother, Minister, Magic-Maker
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