Infighting between Women’s March leaders and several board members has resulted in the 2019 Chicago Women’s March being cancelled over arguments over support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan amid his controversial comments earlier this year that were criticized as anti-Semitic, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The annual march was set to take place in January and had previously drawn thousands to Chicago’s Grant Park this past two years at the height of the #MeToo movement.
Last month, Women’s March founder Teresa Shook penned a very candid Facebook post, lashing out at board members Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez.
Previously, #MeToo advocate Alyssa Milano publicly drew a line in the sand and said she would not be speaking at the 2019 march unless Mallory and Sarsour denounced Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, accusing him of anti-Semitism.
“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,” Milano said after the leaders of the movement initially refused to denounce the Nation of Islam leader.
And Shook is backed up the actress with her own critique.
“[They’re] allowing anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQ 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,” she said of the four co-chairs. She continued: “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.”
“No universe exists in which it is acceptable to support anti-Semitic statements,” the Chicago chapter said in a statement in March. “Women’s March Chicago condemns bigotry in all its forms.”
Earlier this year, Mallory had attended the Nation of Islam Saviors’ Day event where Farrakhan stated, “the powerful Jews are my enemy.” Both she and Perez have posted photos praising him.
Mallory later denounced the anti-Semitic comments but said she has been attending the Farrakhan event for years.
Organizers of the march blamed the cancellation on high costs and a lack of volunteers.
The answer you have been waiting for… pic.twitter.com/5N8PljQtRO
— Womens March Chi (@womensmarchchi) November 29, 2018
As a collective, the four leaders also responded to Shook’s post with a statement of their own, stating the group has now transitioned into “one led by women of color.”
No word on if the group will hold a march at a later date.