A Women’s March group in Humboldt County, Calif., is canceling its Jan. 19 event over concerns that the participants would be “overwhelmingly white.”
The decision, which was announced via Facebook, comes amid widespread divisions within the larger Women’s March movement.
“Humboldt County organizers and supporters of the annual Women’s March have decided to not hold a rally in Eureka on January 19th. This decision was made after many conversations between local social-change organizers and supporters of the march,” a Facebook statement, posted on Dec. 28, reads. “Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community. Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach.”
The comments section on the post included a variety of opinions. “I applaud the decision,” one commenter wrote. “I have boycotted the march since the beginning as it has been a process that by default has incorporated institutional racism, transphobia and a lack of support of sex workers. A march that, intentional or not, ignores intersectionalism and the inherent racism of current feminist movements. I have boycotted the Woman’s march since the beginning for these reasons and I applaud the introspection and awareness shown here as well as the move to work to be MORE inclusive… This group LISTENED to community members.”
Another commenter offered a vastly different opinion, saying, “Local Organizers have let themselves be duped, What kind of crowd do they expect when you have 77.86% of the population being White? Organizers PLEASE RECONSIDER!!” Indeed, recent census data shows that 74.3% of Humboldt County’s 137,000 population is non-Hispanic White.
The event organizers wrote in the statement that they are looking into organizing an event in honor of International Women’s Day, and also support group members attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Eureka, Calif., scheduled to take place on Jan. 21.
The cancellation of the Eureka event follows that of the Women’s March in Chicago. Chicago organizers said they decided to cancel the event, as they had already devoted “so much time, money, energy and effort” into a “March to the Polls” event in November.
This is also not the first time an event affiliated with the Women’s March has faced backlash on the grounds of inclusivity and race. Most recently, some regional chapters have leaned away from the national organization, because of its ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and to the accusation that the organization is anti-Semitic.
While the Women’s March event will not be taking place in Eureka Jan. 19, marches will still be held in Washington, D.C., and many other cities around the world.
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