The March for Black Women is happening today, September 30 — the same day as the March for Racial Justice. But the two marches aren’t competing. In fact, the March for Black Women will be joining the March for Racial Justice around 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The timing of the two marches was intentional.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Marches Are on the Anniversary of the Elaine Massacre
On September 30, 1919, a three-day racial confrontation took place in Arkansas after a shooting at the Progressive Farmers and Household Union meeting. It is estimated that 100 to 240 black Americans were killed by white mobs. No one went to jail.
According to the March for Racial Justice’s website, September 30 was picked to mark this anniversary, which was one of many racist lynchings and race riots in nearly 36 cities in what is known as the Red Summer of 1919. After black World War I veterans returned home, they were denied access to jobs and housing. In response, they organized and resisted, demanding civil rights in the face of murderous mobs. According to the website:
On September 30th, we mourn their lives and honor their resistance. Their courage reverberates through the generations and inspires our struggle today.”
The March for Black Women also is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Million Woman March.
2. The March for Black Women Will Begin at Seward Square at 8 a.m.
Participants in the March for Black Women will begin gathering at Seward Square in Washington, D.C. at 8 a.m. Eastern today. The program will officially begin at 10 a.m. Eastern, where they will begin marching down North Carolina Ave SE. You can see a map of the route above.
Get more details about the route and the plan for the day here.
Here’s the first part of a statement about the reason for the March for Black Women. You can read the full statement here.
On September 30, 2017, Black women in all their diversity will march at the center of the March for Racial Justice in our very own MARCH FOR BLACK WOMEN in Washington, D.C. to denounce the propagation of state-violence and the widespread incarceration of Black women and girls, rape and all sexualized violence, the murders and brutalization of transwomen and the disappearances of our girls from our streets, our schools and our homes.
Moreover, in this highly political moment of the 20th anniversary of the Million Woman March, the March for Black Women will amplify the struggles of Black women in the rural South—the “Black Belt”, and demand a cease and desist of all threats to those of us who are immigrant women across the country living in fear of deportation.
On September 30, 2017, Black cis and trans identified women will remove the gags from our mouths, protest in collective action and lift the foot of imperialist white supremacist patriarchy off our necks. We call on every Black woman from every U.S. city, every walk of life, every demographic to rise together within our differences and face our common oppressors—the systems, and too often the very communities claiming civil and human rights for some, while invisibilizing, rejecting and relegating the rest of us to political backseats.
3. The March for Racial Justice Will Begin Gathering at 10 a.m. Eastern
The March for Racial Justice will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern at Lincoln Park. Between 10 a.m. and noon, people will be lining up at Lincoln Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. At 12:30 p.m., the March for Black Women will join them. At that time, they’ll march together toward the Capitol, past the Department of Justice, and to the National Mall. A vigil at the MLK Jr. Memorial will take place at sundown.
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The March for Racial Justice is, in part, about the following:
Our mission is to harness the national unrest and dissatisfaction with racial injustice into a national mobilization that strengthens local and nationwide efforts for racial equity and justice.
We are mobilizing a coalition of organizations, groups and individuals to stand together for racial justice, and call out white supremacy and its interlocking oppressions along gender, class, sexuality, ability, religion and immigration status. On September 30th in Washington, DC, we invite you to stand with us. Our vision is simple: to create a just and equitable future for communities of color and others harmed by white supremacy, so that we may all thrive together.
The march is bearing witness to mass incarceration, state-sanctioned violence, the normalization of rape culture, continued environmental violence against people of color, the inhumane treatment of people with disabilities and low-income working class, the criminalization of poor and immigrants, and a resurgence of anti-semitism and hate speech. Read more about the march’s mission here.
Here’s a map of the route:
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4. The Two Marches Are Not Competing
The March for Black Women will march down North Carolina Ave. SE until it intersects with the March for Racial Justice around noon at Lincoln Park. At this point, the two groups will combine and march together first to the Justice Department and then to the National Mall for a rally between Fourth and Seventh Streets.
Farah Tanis, organizer for the March for Black Women, told The Root that the two marches are not competing. She said there’s no competition and they simply want black women’s issues to be recognized and addressed.
She told The Root:
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It’s difficult getting the issues specific to black women and girls centered within the racial-justice movement of this nation. When we say ‘maternal mortality,’ I don’t think people get that it disproportionately affects black women. … Also, 50 to 60 percent are black girls are sexually assaulted, but people have a hard time believing this even though they know historically, we have endured rape and have been enforced to endure generations of rape. Black kids are born to poor black mothers. How do you not see that as a racial-justice issue?”
In fact, the timing of the two marches was intentional, The Washington Post reported. Tanis said she heard about the March for Racial Justice and saw a need to focus specifically on black women too. The leaders of the two marches worked together so the events would complement each other and not compete.
To learn more about the March for Racial Justice, visit their website here.
To learn more about the March for Black Women, visit their website here.
5. Sister Marches for the March for Black Women Will be Held Across the Country
The March for Black Women will have sister marches and town halls all across the country. Cities with events include:
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- Miami, Fl
- Farmington, NM
- Kalamazoo, MI
- Phoenix, AZ
- Hartford, CT
- Edmonton, AB, Canada
- Iowa City, IA
- Birmingham, AL
- Oakland, CA
- Portland, OR
- St Louis, MO
- Milwaukee, WI
- San Diego, CA
- Cincinnati, OH
- Chicago, IL
To learn more about any of these marches or contact the organizers, visit the website here.