by Angie Leventis Lourgos<
Dec. 26, 2018
As controversy swells around national Women’s March organizers, the local group has decided not to host a march in January — an event that for the past two years drew hundreds of thousands of supporters to Grant Park in concert with similar marches across the globe.
While Women’s March Chicago organizers cited high costs and limited volunteer hours as the main reasons for nixing the annual rally and march, the break comes amid splintering within the national Women’s March leadership following accusations of anti-Semitism and scrutiny of its ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Marches and rallies are still planned for Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C., and dozens of cities nationwide and internationally, as well as other parts of Illinois like Rockford, southwest suburban New Lenox and northwest suburban Woodstock.
Women’s March Chicago leaders say they’ll commemorate the anniversary of the original march with another activity but haven’t released any details on the location or nature of the event.
“This is disappointing,” one member wrote. “Women continue fighting to be heard in this patronizing patriarchal society. We are not done.”
Some made plans to join marches in other cities instead.
Others expressed support for the choice to forgo a January march.
“A lot has come to light about national in the last year,” one member wrote. “I support not marching with them.”
Leaders of the national group Women’s March Inc. have come under fire for their slowness to condemn the rhetoric of Farrakhan, whose Chicago-based Nation of Islam is considered an anti-Semitic hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In a February speech, Farrakhan praised Women’s March Inc. co-President Tamika Mallory and in the same address declared “the powerful Jews are my enemy.” The national organization denounced Farrakhan’s comments in March, but many criticized leaders for not speaking up sooner. Mallory has also praised Farrakhan on social media.