There will be a Women’s March and two Women’s rallies In New York City tomorrow supporting women’s rights. A conflict that ensued after one of the co-founders of the original Women’s March on Washington Tamika Mallory was accused of anti-Semitic views due to her alignment with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. There were also accusations of anti-Semitic remarks made by Carmen Perez, another organizer. lastly a third organizer Linda Sarsour has stated her support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
There have been so many published articles on the conflict over the past two years between these initial Women’s March activists and co-leaders of the first 2017 Women’s March and the leadership of many community groups supporting Jewish and LGBTQ+ women. This led to a new organization called the Women’s March Alliance to take on the mantle of organizing the 2018 and 2019 marches. Tomorrow Alliance sponsored march will begin on the Upper West Side of NYC. The gathering affiliated with the original organization Women’s March group will be a rally downtown at Foley Square and is led by women of color.
There have also been women with disabilities who claim they were not granted a permit to march who have organized a rally of their own in Grand Central Station tomorrow.
I’m a family therapist who views conflict and repair through a systemic lens. What this means is that a conflict expresses a challenge and a hope for change, whether between a couple, a family or any other system. The whole system needs to change the previous patterns for full healing to take place. It’s not the fault or blame of one person or one group or one side. If there’s going to be real change it will require dialogue, empathy and compromise.
It saddens me that the American tent for the Women’s March, a reckoning the likes of which had never been seen, echoed across the globe now presents as no longer big enough for all of us. The feeling that day on 2017 after Trump’s inauguration when people of all genders took to the streets to protest all the misogynistic, sexist, racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic rhetoric that had been spewing throughout Trump’s marching side by side was cataclysmic in its enormous hope that each of us could be a change agent. Each of us could repair the world whether in our small communities, organizing politically or running for office.
When I attended fundraisers this past year to hear women run for local office for the first time in their lives, each one of them said:
“I just thought, I could no longer wait for someone else to change our lives.
I must do this”.
This to me is the sound of hope, change and healing. But it is only THROUGH conflict, engagement and action with those that have different views that longstanding experiences of hurt, hate, disenfranchisement, assault, harassment and harm to one’s body can be both authentically witnessed AND repaired. It would be immature to think that the vast differences in beliefs that women hold regarding Israel’s political policies, Zionism and Palestinian challenges would NOT unleash tremendous energy and anger. As Rebecca Traister reflected about her discussion with co-chair Linda Sarsour in her elegant piece in The Cut recently:
“The painful reflections and calls to responsibility were meant to bring anger to the surface as part of the process of marching together, rather than allowing that anger to fester and separate a group that could, united, wield power.”
But I believe that the tent has to be large enough to hold all women’s courage to address the inequities and injustice in this world for all of us.
This is why I’ll continue to march and rally. With those that come from very different places and those that come from similar spaces.
I’m marching for those who can’t.
I’m marching to protest #metoo assault and harassment.
I’m marching to support women with less/no privilege
I’m marching to support those that need a living wage.
I’m marching for those that are targeted for the color of their skin, their religion, their orientation, their gender.
I’m marching to inspire and be inspired.
I’m marching for healing because this world is fractured.
I’ll end this blog with a quote by Martin Luther King whose legacy we honor this Monday:
“We may have all come on different ships but we’re in the same boat now”
AND A QUESTION TO KEEP YOU THINKING:
Why are you marching?