Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) was the only elected official to speak at this year’s Women’s March Minnesota, and was invited to speak despite the organization’s recent condemnation of “those who have engaged in anti-Semitic, anti-woman, and anti-LGBTQ hate speech.”
The national Women’s March has been roiled by controversies surrounding anti-Semitic comments made by its leaders, one of whom attended an event hosted by Louis Farrakhan as recently as last year. In response, Women’s March Minnesota issued a January 10 press release “reevaluating its ties to Women’s March, Inc.”
“Women’s March Minnesota does not and will not tolerate the language or practice of hate,” the group said. “We will not tolerate anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia and we condemn these expressions of hatred in all forms.”
The group went on to claim that it was “charting a new course into what 2019 looks like for Women’s March Minnesota.”
“We fight because we recognize that women’s rights are civil rights. This June will mark a century since the 19th Amendment was ratified, which gave women the right to vote, but the right to vote is under attack, particularly for communities of color and for young women. This is a women’s rights issue,” Omar said during Saturday’s event.
Omar also claimed that “women’s rights are reproductive health care rights,” stating that “all women deserve the right to accessible and affordable reproductive health care.”
“That means access to safe and affordable abortion. When we talk about Medicare for all, make no mistake, we mean access to contraceptives and abortion care,” she said.
No other members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation spoke Saturday, including Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-04). Despite having two female senators in Minnesota, neither Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) nor Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) were scheduled to speak. According to The Star Tribune, Klobuchar, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (D-MN), and Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D-Brooklyn Park) were instead attending a funeral in northern Minnesota.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.
Background Photo “Women’s March Minnesota” by Women’s March Minnesota.