“I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not,” Teresa Shook wrote.
By Alanna Vagianos
The original founder of the Women’s March, Teresa Shook, demanded that the organization’s four co-chairs ― Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland ― step down for allowing “anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric” to become part of the organization’s platform.
In a Facebook post published Monday afternoon, Shook wrote that the four public faces of the Women’s March should resign because they have strayed from the group’s goals.
“I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not,” Shook wrote. “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.”
Shook, a retired attorney who resides in Hawaii, sparked the 2017 Women’s March on Washington with a single Facebook post. With her, Bland, Vanessa Wruble and Evvie Harmon are credited with founding the march, which took shape after Donald Trump’s election. Mallory, Sarsour and Perez were brought on later to serve as national co-chairs alongside Bland to ensure the organization had diverse leadership.
“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,” Shook continued. “I stand in Solidarity with all the Sister March Organizations, to bring the Movement back to its authentic purpose.”
The organization came under fire this year when Mallory was spotted at an event hosted by Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the religious group the Nation of Islam who has a history of making anti-Semitic and anti-gay remarks. The day Mallory attended the event, Farrakhan delivered a three-hour speech in which he said “the powerful Jews” are his “enemy.” Mallory later posted an Instagram video and photo of herself at the event praising Farrakhan.
Mallory explained her ties to Farrakhan in a News One essay, writing that she began attending Nation of Islam events when her son’s father was slain 17 years ago.
Outlets later reported that that Sarsour and Perez also had personal ties to Farrakhan. All four co-chairs declined to denounce the controversial religious leader after harsh criticism from fellow activists.