As Women’s Marches proceeded around the nation Saturday, with thousands attending despite controversy over the march’s national leadership, a New York event was marked by a fiery, inclusive speech by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez, who wore pins representing LGBTQ and Transgender Pride, made the point that “being polite is not the same thing as being quiet,” and touched on numerous intersectional issues:
“Let us remember that a fight means no person left behind. So when people want to stop talking about the issues black women face, when people want to stop talking about the issues that trans women or immigrant women face, we’ve got to ask them, Why does that make you so uncomfortable? … This is not just about identity, this is about justice and this is about the America we are going to bring into this world.”
The New York Democrat also touched on the environment, voting rights, the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and several other topics.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Women's March in New York: "Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as being quiet. In fact, often times, the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table." https://t.co/knzLXDTwND pic.twitter.com/oXcsyrGb2S
— CNN (@CNN) January 19, 2019
There were two events in New York City. The Unity Rally, from which the video is drawn, was planned by a group affiliated with the national march. An independent New York group also held a march in the city. Ocasio-Cortez attended both events.
Meanwhile, a national march proceeded in Washington, D.C., with other marches in Des Moines, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, and elsewhere. Chicago was the site of a Young Women’s March Rally after the city’s official Women’s March organization decided not to hold an event, citing costs and security problems, and encouraged other groups to hold independent gatherings. Today marked the third annual series of marches, which began in response to the election of Donald Trump as president.
Many prominent Democrats stayed away from the marches, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who is seeking the party’s presidential nomination, attended the event in Des Moines, in a state -- Iowa – that holds an early presidential caucus, CNN reports.
She addressed concerns that national march leaders had allowed anti-Semitism to taint the movement, given the association of some with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
"We know there is no room for anti-Semitism in our movement. We know this,” she told attendees who gathered inside the Iowa State Capitol because of the frigid weather. “We know that our movement is empowered when all of us lift each other up.”
In Washington, march leaders, who had eventually – some would say belatedly – repudiated Farrakhan, also addressed the matter. “Over the last year, my sisters in Women's March and I have faced accusations that have hurt my soul,” board member Carmen Perez-Jordan said, according to CNN. “Charges of anti-Semitism and neglecting our LGBTQIA family. And I want to be unequivocal in affirming that Women's March and I and my sisters condemn anti-Semitism and homophobia and transphobia in all forms.”