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The Co-Founders Respond In A Facebook Statement

Teresa Shook, the woman who called for a Women’s March after Trump’s election in 2016, is now calling for the movement’s current co-chairs to step down, accusing them of anti-Semitism and anti-LGBTQ sentiments.

In a Facebook post, Shook, accused current co-chairs Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of associating with bigoted groups that tarnish the initial goals of the Women’s March. She wrote that the co-chairs “have steered the Movement away from its true course. I have waited, hoping they would right the ship, but they have not. In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.”

She concluded, “I call for the current Co-Chairs to step down and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent. I stand in Solidarity with all the Sister March Organizations, to bring the Movement back to its authentic purpose. As Women’s March founder, I am stepping up to bring focus back to the Unity Principles on which our movement began, and with the support of all of those who marched and have continued to march, I pledge to support grassroots, decentralized leadership promoting a safe, worldwide community devoid of hate speech, bigotry and racism.”

Shook’s sentiments follow longstanding criticism of the Women’s March co-chair’s association with Louis Farrakhan, who leads the Nation of Islam and who has a history of anti-Semitic and homophobic comments.

Mallory and Perez have posted photos on Instagram of themselves with Farrakhan, and Sarsour spoke at the Justice or Else rally, which was headlined by Farrakhan in 2015.

Mallory also attended an event in February where Farrakhan said that “the powerful Jews are my enemy.” After the event, Mallory declined to denounce Farrakhan, however The Women’s March released a statement saying that Farrakhan’s statements were “not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles” and that “our external silence has been because we are holding these conversations and are trying to intentionally break the cycles that pit our communities against each other.”

The Women’s March leaders responded to Shook’s call for them to step down in a Facebook post of their own. They thanked Shook for “creating a Facebook event named the Million Women’s March,” but they blasted her for weighing in “irresponsibly” along with other organizations.  “Groups that have benefited from our work but refuse to organize in accordance with our Unity Principles clearly have no interest in building the world our principles envision,” the Women’s March post read. “They have not done the work to mobilize women from diverse backgrounds across the nation.”
The post continued, “We are imperfect. We don’t know everything and we have caused harm. At times we have responded with hurt. But we are committed to learning. We will continue to work through the good and the bad, the impact and the harm — of building an intersectional movement that our daughters, and our daughters’ daughters can be proud of.”


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