This weekend, there will be hundreds of events in the U.S. marking the first anniversary of the massive women’s marches around the country and the world, among them a Manhattan rally starting a day ahead of time on Saturday Jan. 20 at 11:30am at Central Park West. It was organized by a group called Women’s Alliance March.
The theme this year is “Power to the Polls,” aimed at educating people to register and vote. That will make the events decidedly different from the demonstrations by more than 5 million people who marched a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, many wearing pink pussy hats to protest his recorded boasts that he could grab women by the genitals with impunity because of his stardom.
“We need to talk to men about a much bigger picture– we need to bring men to the table,” said Linda Sarsour, the controversial Palestinian American activist from Bay Ridge, as she spoke at Barnes & Noble Union Square on Tuesday night during a launch for Together We Rise, a coffee-table book on the first march. That event began with spirited protest songs by the Resistance Revival Chorus, dressed all in white. Members posed with the book, which is handsomely photographed and contains oral histories from participants, among them Roxanne Gay, Ashley Judd, Gloria Steinem, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Sarsour, born in 1980, drew chuckles from a crowd of about 200 when she said, “I wasn’t inspired by Bernie Sanders, a 75-year-old white man,” alluding to her role as a Sanders surrogate during his unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign. Sarsour added, however, that she shared his political agenda, also noting of her group, “We’re interested in the issues that come from the communities that we care about.”
During a question and answer period from the audience, Sarsour grew visibly agitated when discussing a recent New York Times report of splits in the women’s march movement.
“There are no conflicts,” she insisted. “Irresponsible journalists are trying to take us back. That story is trying to pit women against each other, trying to show we can’t work together.” Her rapid-fire remarks were greeted with applause and she got more of it when she said: “We are intelligent, brilliant and mature women!”