Intersectionality – in this case the convergence of gender and race – was a hot topic in some pre- and post-media assessments of the women's marches around the country, but especially the main march in Washington, D.C.
As a black man who rode a bus down and back, here are my thoughts and observations:
Some critics of the march argued that they could not participate because those organizing it (originally) are exemplars of white privilege. Some even argued that this explained why there were no arrests in D.C.
Black, brown, and Asian women have long complained, and with ample reason, that they were shut out of the feminist movement by a leadership that prioritized equalizing the playing field and ridding the nation of the smothering influences of patriarchy, while ignoring the factor that racism plays within and outside of the movement.
A major step toward acknowledgment was taken when the white originators of the Women’s March on Washington turned the reigns of leadership over to women of color. Three of the four organizers are non-white and their imperative was to create marches based on unity and alliances with all women and to increase the numbers of participants of color. The result was seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on January 21st, 2017 and in marches around the country.
One African American and Cape Verdean woman from Medford, Mass., Candace Cheatham, told me that she had plenty of gripes, including the fact that 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. But she said her most important task now is to create alliances with women of all backgrounds who share her priority, which is to challenge sexual violence and gender discrimination and the policies of Trump; policies that she fears will set back the progress made by all women and people of color. She told WGBH “it is critical for us to be in this together and not apart." Cheatham co-organized the Medford, Mass. bus to Washington.
As you can see from the selected photographs here, a cross section of America came together at the Women’s March on Washington and set aside differences for another day.