The March for Black Women — organized to bring attention to the widespread incarceration of black women, sexual violence and murders of black transgender people — aimed to set itself apart from the huge Women’s March on Washington in January, after Inauguration Day, which received some criticism for a perceived focus on white women’s activism.
“Look around, look at the ways you black women show up to a march,” Michaela Angela Davis, a fashion and race writer and activist, said from the rally stage. “Braids, Afro-pops — y’all can’t fit that under a pink hat.”
The group held a morning rally of several hundred black women and allies before joining the racial justice protesters. Women linked arms as speakers recited the names of black female victims of violence, punctuated by a chant of “Say her name!”
Though much smaller, the women’s march did not accidentally overlap with the main rally.
“I heard about the March for Racial Justice, and I didn’t think there would be space for black women,” said Farah Tanis, a founder of the group Black Women’s Blueprint and an organizer of the march.
But one week after President Trump sparked a national debate over N.F.L. players’ kneeling protest during the national anthem, the two events began together. Led by beating drums, protesters jabbed signs in the air: “Complacent is complicit!”; “Melanin rocks!”; “It’s so bad that even introverts are here.”
Iris Jacob, the founder of Social Justice Synergy, a local justice and inclusion training organization, came to the marches with her two daughters.
“I brought them because I thought about myself as a little girl, and how this kind of event would have changed my life,” she said, cradling one of them against her chest.
The weekend coincided with the anniversary of the three-day massacre in Elaine, Ark., at which over 100 black activists were killed after organizing to pursue fairer wages on white-owned plantations at the conclusion of the so-called Red Summer of 1919.
“This isn’t new — it’s always been relevant,” said Sade Moonsammy, a marcher and friend of Ms. Jacob’s. “We aren’t asking for anything that our parents haven’t already asked for. We’re still in the fight.”
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