Black women led two marches in D.C. and more than a dozen sister rallies and marches across the country Saturday, Sept. 30, railing against the inequalities Black people — particularly women — face.
The March for Black Women and the March for Racial Justice drew a crowd of thousands to march in the streets of D.C. Though both marches held separate rallies in the morning, they joined each other in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill before marching to the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters and then to the National Mall under the directive: “Let Black women lead!”
Though racism and sexism are typically seen as separate issues, event organizers said the combination of the two marches highlighted the intersectional bias women of color often face.
“[Black women] live at the intersections,” said Trina Greene Brown, 33, who participated in the event. “Our gender and race are not separable.”
Brown traveled from Los Angeles to join the march because she believes Black women are not recognized for the work they do in many of the movements they participate in including the women’s rights movement and movements for racial justice.
“Black women deserve to be heard,” she said, adding that she hopes it is not the last march centered specifically around Black women.
The march sponsored by the Black Women’s Blueprint, Black Youth project, and Trans Sisters of Color Project also sought to include African-American transgender women.
“We are at war with white supremacy, we are at war against patriarchy, we are at war against corruption, we are at war against poverty, we are at war with the police” said rally speaker Elle Hearns, a transgender activist and founder of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, an advocacy group for Black transgender and gender-nonconforming femmes.
Reports show that African-American women have higher rates of unemployment and lower earning and median wealth than their white counterparts, leaving them more vulnerable to poverty and its health, social and political implications.
While white women make 78.1 cents to the dollar compared to white males, African-American women only make 64 cents to the same dollar.
Large racial disparities also exist in violent crimes committed against Black women and in the criminal justice system, where 44 percent of women in prison are Black.
Catherine Wolf, 25, came from Philadelphia to be an ally in the march.
“The same way I support women, I support Black women,” Wolf said.
She said to truly support gender equality movements, she, as a white woman, must support women of diverse backgrounds even if she does not share their experiences.
“This is equally as important as the Women’s March because it is about women,” said Wolf, who helped organized the massive demonstration that took place in D.C. in January with related marches worldwide.
Teresa C. Younger, president and chief executive officer of the Ms. Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that supports women’s movements, said she wants to see more financial support for such movements, noting that less than half of one percent of the nation’s philanthropic dollars goes to Black women and girls.
“Nobody makes money making change — that’s why the one percent is the one percent, and the rest of us are doing this work,” Younger said. “But we have to trust Black women.”
Smaller satellite marches took place in New York, San Diego, Atlanta and other cities.