Saturday is the Women’s March. You can find out how to attend one near you here. But before you go, learn and accept these three things:
Mainstream history sees the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 as the first major American women’s rights march in D.C.
In an attempt to persuade white southerners to join the cause, organizers of the Parade forced black suffragists to walk at the end instead of with their state delegation – after all the white women and men.
Former slave, black suffragist, founding member of the NAACP and journalist Ida B. Wells refused this nonsense. She snuck into her state delegation during the march and called out the white organizers on this.
This is just one early example of white women throwing black women under the bus. Unfortunately, Saturday’s march is no exception. It was originally called the Million Woman March and then the March on Washington—both names of iconic protests led by people of color.
So when you hear women of color say they’re skipping the march, respect the long history there. Understand that we—white women—have not earned the benefit of the doubt on “unity” yet. We need to do the work.
(1) Make sure you respect the voices, messages and anger of women of color.
(2) See white-washing at your local march? Speak up.
(3) Skip the unity signs and instead write protest signs that are introspective: what will you do? Do not put the work on women of color.
Ida B. Wells was a badass. Learn more.