Women’s March founder Teresa Shook, a Hawaii-based grandmother whose Facebook post started the event after the 2016 election, denounced the current leadership of the group Monday. She called for the Women’s March co-chairs Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez to resign their posts over their failure to denounce anti-Semitism and other “hateful, racist rhetoric.”
“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... https://t.co/tkfV8GEGiM— Teresa Shook (@TeresaShookWM) November 19, 2018
“Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc. have steered the Movement away from its true course,” Shook wrote in a Facebook post. “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,” she concluded. “I stand in Solidarity with all the Sister March Organizations, to bring the Movement back to its authentic purpose.”
Women's March Co-chair Tamika Mallory has faced scrutiny over her attendance at “Saviour’s Day” where anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan said Jews “were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men."
She later said that she did not expect her attendance there to be controversial. She did not apologize for her attendance at the event, but said she had “heard the pain” of her friends.
"I have heard the pain and concerns of my LGBTQAI siblings, my Jewish friends and Black women (including those who do and those who don't check off either of those other boxes),” she wrote. “I affirm the validity of those feelings, and as I continue to grow and learn as both an activist and as a woman, I will continue to grapple with the complicated nature of working across ideological lines and the question of how to do so without causing harm to vulnerable people."
Linda Sarsour, another Co-chair of the Women’s March, has also maintained ties to Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
Can't learn or teach about the history of Islam in America without talking about the Nation of Islam (NOI). #MYLS2014— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) January 25, 2014
In a recent open letter, Sarsour claims, without condemning Farrakhan outright, that she and Mallory "have been CLEAR that Minister Farrakhan has said hateful and hurtful things and that he does not align with our Unity Principles of the Women's March that were created by Women of Color. Minister Farrakhan will tell you himself that he does not belong to nor adhere to our progressive movement or yours."
"We are being stripped of our agency when every few months we are asked to condemn the Minister about words that we did not say, nonetheless the words of a man who did not consult us on his words," she continued. "We are being held to standards that no one would hold themselves to."
Women’s March leader Carmen Perez argued that those expressing concern over the ties to Farrakhan were harassing women of color.
*Farrakhan is in the headlines again which means three women of color are being harassed and held accountable for his words.*— Carmen Perez (@msladyjustice1) October 18, 2018
The Women’s March tweeted a statement in March saying Farrakhan’s statements at the "Saviour's Day" event were not “aligned with their principles.”
“Minister Farrakhan’s statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity principles,” the group said. “The world Women’s March seeks to build is one free from anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, and all forms of social violence.”
The group’s ties to anti-Semitism became too extreme for both Planned Parenthood and liberal actress Alyssa Milano.
She said of the March’s leadership that “any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately.”