Black Turnout at Women’s March on Washington Examined

Solidarity Overriding Theme from Historic Day

Women all over the world rang out a message demanding equality on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Over a million women showed up in Washington, D.C. /Photo by Roy Lewis
Women all over the world rang out a message demanding equality on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Over a million women showed up in Washington, D.C. /Photo by Roy Lewis

On the morning after the 2016 presidential election where Donald Trump prevailed over Hillary Clinton, a hastily made Facebook event popped into the newsfeed of many located in the District.

Two months later, the Women’s March on Washington took over D.C. on Saturday, Jan. 21, one day after the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children clad with pink hats and witty signs took over the National Mall, subsequently, birthing scores of sister marches around the country and the world.

What seemed to be coming together as a historic movement for all women, became challenged by the dogma of white feminism versus Black feminism and “who the march is for?”

Many women of color expressed on online platforms that the march would be another “white feminist” event that historically silenced Black women and Black issues, whereas some white women felt unfairly demonized and chided to listen more and talk less.

The Johnsons, a Black family from Charleston, W.Va., didn’t seem to understand the division.

“You know, I don’t know why,” Erica Johnson said referring to the separatism of Black and white women on the issues.

Her parents Simone and Eric wanted more of colorful presence on the ground referring to the one in 30 Black people at the march.

“Where were we today?” they questioned as a couple.

Another Black family from Brooklyn, N.Y., had a different perspective.

“Yes, I definitely see Black people represented here,” Jackie Barham said.

She traveled to D.C. with her two daughters, specifically so her children could witness the historic Women’s March.

“I felt they should be a part of this,” she said. “I think everybody is understanding that we are interdependent on each other. The one good thing about this presidency is that it’s bringing up the idea of white supremacy — that it is real and that it exists.”

“It’s raising people’s consciousness and it’s bringing forth a lot of issues that we as a country need to stop acting like don’t exist. We need to have a debate and a discussion about it.”

Despite lower Black turnout than expected, women and men across all ages, races and ethnicities displayed solidarity.

Baby boomers, millennials, small children and even babies marched for hours championing human rights, opposing the dawn of a Donald Trump presidency.

Although the movement was mostly white and female, the global sense of solidarity reigned supreme.

“I really believe what Martin Luther King said about an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Arthur Stuart, a millennial-aged Black man living in D.C. “We’re all marginalized in the grand scheme of things, and we need to support one another. We’re in the same fight.”

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