Sunday marked a year since the Women’s March took its boots-to-the-ground activism to Washington, D.C. The crowds, who fought back against the threats of a new Trump administration that threatened civil rights, was full of millions of women, especially Black ones.
Tamika Mallory, co-chair of last year’s historic protest and co-president of the Women’s March board, knew the chance to raise a chorus of voices against inequality was real.
“The women’s march has provided an opportunity for women to understand our collective power and to understand that the more public we are, the more we have an opportunity to bring our issues to the forefront,” Mallory recently said to USA Today.
Now, one year later, women will once again descend around the country to fight in several cities including New York City and Los Angeles on the January 20-21 weekend. But just how meaningful is this year’s event for Black women?
Here are five reasons why African-American female activists are standing up:
Women’s March organizers will launch a national voter registration tour this year. The Power to the Polls event, taking place in Las Vegas, will call attention to Nevada as a battleground state in the 2018 election cycle, Mallory said.
The event also highlights the fact that polling places have already been a place for Black women to make a difference. Doug Jones was elected to the senate after a powerful showing of African-Americans ladies at the polls in Alabama. This voting bloc has proved its importance to swaying elections, a phenomenon that speaks to its political power.
The Power to the Polls effort will “help elect more women and progressive candidates in congressional, gubernatorial and local elections nationwide,” Mallory explained. Potentially, more Black female candidates may make it on the ballot. There have already been the historical elections of Democrat senator Kamala Harris and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottomsthat proved that #BlackExcellence reaches the top of the political ladder.
The need to force President Trump’s impeachment has grown, especially within many activist communities. Several of Trump’s policies, including repealing The Affordable Care Act, have threatened the lives of Black women over the past year.
“I think some people may even be more outraged today than they were last year,” Mallory said. “Think about it. Last year Donald Trump had not even been the president yet. He had not been in office at that point for any amount of time that would give people the ability to really see policies coming into place. … Over the last year we’ve been able to see how some of the rhetoric is turning into actual policies and procedures that impact communities that have already been struggling.”
Sexual Harassment Fight
The battle against sexual abuse and misconduct has been front and center for women, highlighted by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Many activists are expected to keep fighting at this year’s Women’s March as part of a core set of principles upheld by event organizers and groups.
“Women have the right to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies,” reads one statement from the Woman’s March website’s guiding principles list, which also mentions that women, especially Black, have are often targeted by rape, human trafficking and other types of physical and sexual violence.
Trans Community Engagement
Groups participating in the women’s march want to improve their relationship with the Transgender community, especially important considering that a devastatingly high number of Black Trans women were been tragically murdered last year.
“Last year we learned, and throughout the year we learned, that there needs to be a greater focus on our relationship with the trans community,” Mallory explained, “and this year we are being very intentional about engaging the trans community and figuring out better ways to be a stronger partner.”