By Ellen McGirt
January 23, 2017

On the day after the inauguration, millions of women and plenty of men flooded the streets in cities around the world to inspire a larger conversation about the rights that many believe are under assault by the new U.S. administration.

But within the crowds, other conversations emerged, often falling along racial lines. Good’s Devon Maloney shares how the Women’s March revived long-standing suspicions that the feminist movement has never valued the needs or input of women of color:

Among the celebration, hugs, and chants, many in the crowd wondered aloud where the millions of white people who turned out were when Black Lives Matter activists were being assaulted for protesting anti-black police brutality, or on behalf of Standing Rock and Flint, Michigan.

“I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it is to see grown adults that I know and love decide only now to take to the streets,” writer and activist Ijeoma Oluo posted on Facebook yesterday. “I’m glad you’re doing something. But…weren’t we worth it before? Why weren’t we reason enough? Where have you been? And where will you be once this doesn’t impact you directly anymore?”

This is a truly difficult conversation to have and the central tenet of any inclusion moment: We have all left someone out, and we are all part of some system that has rendered another group invisible. The future depends on how we respond.

I attended the Woman’s March in St Louis, Missouri, a Midwest city which has suffered in similar ways to other red cities and states. But, as an early, unwilling node in the Black Lives Matters movement, the city also languishes in the shadow Michael Brown’s death and the Ferguson protests that turned out very differently from the calm and affirming event on Saturday. There were plenty of signs of goodwill. Black women organizers kicked off parade, and plenty of signs – “We’re not all racists!!” – spoke to the self-consciousness that St. Louisans often feel. “We have a lot of work to do,” one white woman told me in a pussy hat and Black Lives Matters t-shirt. “We have a lot of listening to do.”


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