NEW YORK, NY – It was a story of two protests: Uptown, the streets of Manhattan’s Higher West Facet had been crammed with girls holding indicators and carrying the enduring pink hats which have change into the image of the Ladies’s March, now in its third yr.
Downtown, in Foley Sq., numerous girls mentioned they’d initially deliberate to hitch the gathering on the other aspect of city — till allegations of anti-Semitism within the management of the Ladies’s March surfaced. The controversy has divided the motion’s supporters and dampened its message of sisterhood and unity.
As chants from each marches resounded all through the town, girls in each camps had been energized about preventing for his or her rights and opposing the administration of President Donald Trump.
Each protests had been overshadowed by a nagging query: Will the Ladies’s March motion change into unified and stronger, or will it proceed to fracture alongside these newly uncovered fault strains?
The marchers downtown included Jordy Mark, 70, wielding a yellow signal that learn “TRUMP, PENCE, FARRAKHAN NO HATE, NO HATE, NO HATE with a crimson “X” by way of all three names. She was collaborating within the different protest that had been organized by Ladies’s March NYC.
“The angle of the Ladies’s March management doesn’t sit proper with me,” mentioned Mark, whose signal referred to Louis Farrakhan, the chief of the Nation of Islam, an avowed anti-Semite and homophobe.
“Folks converse up for anti-racist and anti-immigrant views, however they’re quiet in relation to anti-Semitism. Hatred towards Jews has by no means been handled in any possible way,” she mentioned.
The rift within the motion has been a dominant theme of this yr’s protests, and nowhere is the division seen extra starkly than in New York, the place the 2 sides couldn’t be reconciled and two protests had been held as a substitute of 1.
The rally uptown was organized by the Ladies’s March Alliance. Some contributors mentioned they selected that demonstration as a result of it’s a gaggle they’d protested with previously.
A few of the protesters there mentioned they selected to not concentrate on the divisions, however on the problems that propelled them to prove at previous protests, like girls’s empowerment, financial inequality, and their deep-seated disdain for President Donald Trump.
“The financial system’s falling aside. We wish the individual within the White Home out. We’re right here as girls wanting this to finish!” mentioned Nancy Davidson, 75.
Most of the girls downtown shared the identical targets, however mentioned they may not be part of a protest organized by a gaggle whose leaders are alleged to have made anti-Jewish statements or supported folks with anti-Semitic leanings.
Inner divisions over allegations of anti-Semitism by present leaders of the nationwide organizing group forged a cloud over Ladies’s March after Tamika Mallory, co-president of this yr’s march, in an Instagram put up expressed admiration for Farrakhan.
Different marchers mentioned they had been sad with different members of the nationwide management, significantly Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist within the BDS motion, which requires ratcheting up stress on Israel over its human rights file by way of a mix of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.
Susan Cutler, 61, of Wilton, Connecticut mentioned she was deeply offended by Mallory’s refusal to sentence Farrakhan. She mentioned she’d prefer to see the ladies’s motion united, however not till Sarsour and Mallory step down.
“It’s hypocrisy to speak about acceptance and equal rights however to carry Israel to a distinct commonplace,” defined Cutler. “The anti-Semitism that got here out of this management just isn’t one thing that I can help.”
Tiffany McCullough, 40, mentioned she was additionally postpone by the anti-Semitism allegations, though she just isn’t Jewish.
“As a Roman Catholic who has marched within the D.C. March for Life for many of my life, I had a troublesome time attending right now,” she mentioned. “There are some issues Sarsour has mentioned… that I’ve felt attacked by. However I feel it’s necessary to indicate up for my sisters.”
Cassidy Layton, 21, who identifies as a Latina Jew, mentioned doesn’t approve of the management of the Ladies’s March, however her ardour for intersectional feminism spurred her to take part in Saturday’s uptown march. “I’m displaying up for girls,” she mentioned. “So many ladies have died for our proper to be right here.”
There have been those that took the view Saturday that two protests had been really higher than one. On the Higher West Facet, Genevieve Rust, 15, and Gab Inexperienced, 18, each of who commuted to the march from central New Jersey, had been of that view.
“Truly, it makes us stronger to have two demonstrations,” Inexperienced mentioned. “No matter girls’s march you go to, it’s okay. We’re all right here for a similar causes. It’s one motion in two locations. That’s highly effective.”