Everything You Need to Know About the Women's March 2019: Locations, Speakers and Recent Controversy
Still, the movement has been battling negative press of its own.
Here’s everything you need to know about the event and its controversies.
The co-president of Women’s March Inc., Tamika Mallory, has been criticized for her association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has often used anti-Semetic and homophobic rhetoric. She upset many supporters of the Women’s March after posting a photo with him and describing him as “the GOAT” (greatest of all time).
A longtime activist, Mallory and the other founders organized the first Women’s March in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump‘s inauguration. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the march in Washington, D.C. and three million people gathered globally to protest Trump’s stance on women’s rights and civil rights.
Despite her organization’s anti-hate premise, Mallory didn’t fully condemn Farrakhan when she appeared on The View with co-president Bob Bland on Jan. 14.
Mallory has previously denounced discrimination but has taken care to delineate her personal relationship with Farrakhan and some of his past works, which she reiterated again this week.
On The View Mallory argued that while she does not agree “with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements,” she can still appreciate his efforts on behalf of the black community.
“Everywhere that I go is difficult,” Mallory toldThe View‘s Meghan McCain. “The Women’s March was very difficult. I met with a lot of women who did not even understand why race was [an] important… part of the conversation as it relates to women’s rights issues.”
“There was a lot of offensive rhetoric that I heard and, you know, just because you go into a space with someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they say,” Mallory said.
The organization also faced a wave of anger because of accusations of anti-Semitism amongst the leadership, which stemmed from a lengthy December report by Tablet, a Jewish news magazine. All of the accusations have been forcefully denied multiple times.
Following the controversy, Mallory and organizer Linda Sarsour met with a group of rabbis — a majority of whom then encouraged Jews to participate in the protest.
Women’s March Inc. has also brought on three Jewish women to its steering committee, according to the New York Times.
“The people that the journalist spoke to did not tell the truth. Period. Full stop,” Bland, another member of leadership, said on The View, referring to the Tablet article. “And I think it’s important for all of us to understand, and be very clear in this room, that the Women’s March unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism [and] bigotry.”
Still, a number of groups have decided to stop sponsoring the Women’s March amid the negative attention.
One of the biggest is the Democratic National Committee, which no longer appeared on the list of official sponsors on the website after the co-presidents were interviewed on The View, according to The Daily Beast.
Women’s March Inc. has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In a statement in November, Sarsour said: “It’s become clear, amidst this media storm, that our values and our message have — too often — been lost. That loss caused lot of harm, and a lot of pain. We should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We regret that.”
“Every member of our movement matters to us — including our incredible Jewish and LGBTQ members,” Sarsour continued. “We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused, but we see you, we love you, and we are fighting with you.”
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Despite the controversies, a high turnout is expected for Saturday’s marches.
This year, stars and everyday people are expected to participate in the more than 100 marches that are scheduled globally, according to ABC.
Interested participants can visit the Women’s March website and use the map to find local events. (Other marches that aren’t affiliated with Women’s March Inc. will also occur.)
“It’s time to march again,” the website states. “The 2017 Women’s March inspired hundreds of women to run, millions more to vote, and dozens to win elected office. The 2019 Women’s March marks two years of resistance to the Trump presidency, two years of training new activists, and two years of building power. And this time, we’re coming back with an agenda.”
As in the past two years, the march in Washington, D.C. will likely be most closely watched. Major marches are also scheduled for the nation’s largest cities, L.A. and New York City.
It will take place at Freedom Plaza (a new location) on Saturday at 10 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 4 p.m.
Organizers recommend that marchers wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes (check here for more tips).