Woman to Womxn: New Women’s Marches Aim for Inclusivity

Woman to Womxn: New Women’s Marches Aim for Inclusivity

01.18.19
The first Women's March took place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo: Paula Neudorf)
01.18.19

The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. — and marches around the country — are set to kick off again on Saturday, Jan. 19.

Since 2017, the march has become a kind of annual tradition, with thousands of citizens taking to the streets to protest President Donald Trump and his policies while giving voice to the largest traditionally underrepresented group: women.

With a record 131 women now serving in Congress, it’s tempting to point to the Women’s March as having had a profound effect on American politics.

But some believe the Women’s March hasn’t been inclusive enough of people of color or women from less privileged backgrounds. And critics point to controversial statements made by the lead organizers of the national March. 

Just this week the national Women’s March co-president Tamika D. Mallory was taken to task on the television show “The View” for support she’s shown for controversial, chronically anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan. The dust-up over Mallory is just one issue the central organizers have faced, which has prompted some activists to establish their own women’s marches.

The Womxn’s March in Denver is one such event. On Saturday, Denver locals will march a one-mile route near the state capitol. The name itself — Womxn’s March — has special resonance in Colorado, the first state in the nation to allow “X” as a gender identification on birth certificates and driver licenses.

“The ‘X’ in the Womxn’s March is one way of showing intersectionality,” said Brenda Herrera Moreno, part of the leadership for Womxn’s March Denver.

‘Intersectionality’ refers to how race, class and gender all play a role in discrimination.

“We’re showing a conversation that needs to happen. We’re showing a conversation that has happened and moving it into the lens of the Womxn’s March. So it doesn’t mean we are denying anyone to apart of the room, we’re really opening the door further to make sure everyone can be a part of that conversation.”

For the Womxn’s March Denver, that includes youth voices.

“Two of our speakers are high school students, and that was really important to the programming committee, to make sure that voices were represented from the next generation. I would say that we have work to do on including youth leadership,” said organizer Angela Astle.

Astle explains that the Denver Womxn’s March split off from the national group after the 2017 event. They currently operate under the umbrella of the March On group, a different nationwide organization that grew out of the original 2017 march.

“The difference between National and the March On movement is that National tends to have a top-down approach. National is really trying to like look at…this is what we want you to do and this is how we want people to show up and [this is] our guiding principles,” Astle said. “While March On was like ‘Do you, do what is good for your community, do what is good for your own backyard.’”

The national March On organization also puts an emphasis on getting local leaders elected. That focus on concrete change hasn’t necessarily taken root here in the Mile High City yet.

“People are really moved and motivated to be a [part of] the march itself, but then energy kinda [dips] and the next phase of actual action doesn’t always take place,” Astle said.

So the organizers instead focus on connection as the goal, acting as a platform for other organizations whose activism centers on issues such as domestic abuse, rape and marginalization.

“I would really love everyone…who attends to walk out with a different perspective on any anti-oppressive concept,” said Regan Byrd, another Womxn’s March Denver organizer. “Whether that is intersectionality, whether that is inclusivity, whether that’s gender non-binary. What those designations mean and what they are. I want someone to walk out learning something and understanding how broad this conversation is and can be.”

The Womxn’s March isn’t unique to Denver, as the split between the national Women’s March group and local organizers has happened around the country.

While Denver only has the Womxn’s March, cities like Seattle will host multiple events from different groups of organizers. To add a little confusion to the mix: in Seattle the march affiliated with the Women’s March uses the Womxn’s March spelling, while the group that has broken off calls their event Womxn Marching Forward.

The conversation takes to the streets on Saturday Jan. 19, with the Denver Womxn’s March beginning with a pre-rally at at Civic Center Park at 9 a.m. and the march proper starting at 10:30 a.m.

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