With charges of anti-Semitism and other bigotry against the Women’s March, the movement’s founder called on its leaders on Monday to quit.
“As Founder of the Women’s March, my original vision and intent was to show the capacity of human beings to stand in solidarity and love against the hateful rhetoric that had become a part of the political landscape in the U.S. and around the world,” Theresa Shook wrote in a Facebook post.
“Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc. have steered the Movement away from its true course,” continued Shook. “I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not. In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs. I call for the current Co-Chairs to step down and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent.”
Sarsour and Mallory have been repeatedly slammed for praising Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite whose annual Saviour’s Day was attended in February by Mallory.
Last week, actors Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing spoke out against anti-Semitism associated with movement, with the former announcing that she will not speak at next year’s march and the latter backing the decision.
Groups such as the Zioness Movement applauded Shook’s statement.
“Zioness shares Shook’s sentiment that it is high time for new leadership at a Movement created to stand in love and solidarity against hate,” the group said in a statement. “Since our founding in 2017, Zioness has spoken out time and again against the poisonous and deeply hurtful rhetoric and actions of certain Women’s March leaders.”
“Through their action and inaction, these leaders have demonized and marginalized members of the Jewish community, LBGTQIA community and other groups,” they continued. “Their exclusionary behavior is not only harmful to those of us who have been feeling alienated—it is harmful to all the marginalized communities we want to fight for. Anyone who cares about the advancement of social, racial, economic and gender justice should welcome all committed activists to the fight, not just some.”
They added: “For our part, Zioness will be organizing a significant presence at the next Women’s March from coast-to-coast, engaging our more than 18 chapters and thousands of participants. As part of this work, Zioness will be hosting a series of pre-march ‘teach-ins’ that bring light to the issues facing Jewish women in a time of skyrocketing anti-Semitism. In Washington, D.C., this teach-in will be headed by progressive icon Ann Lewis. We will be announcing additional leaders organizing these teach-ins in the coming week.”