The Women’s March of Minnesota announced Friday that it has officially severed ties to the national organization amid ongoing internal disputes and allegations of anti-Semitism against top leaders.
In a statement released Friday, the group said its Board of Directors “voted unanimously against signing an affiliation agreement presented by Women’s March, Inc.,” the national organization.
Official Statement: Women’s March Minnesota Ends Official Connection with Women’s March National. pic.twitter.com/IyyX1PomTJ
— Women's March MN (@WomensMarchMN) August 9, 2019
“Women’s March Inc. released its proposed affiliation document, opening the ‘official’ affiliation process in March of this year,” the statement continued. “There were several deciding factors contributing to the decision not to sign the affiliation agreement.”
The following were listed as reasons for doing so:
- Lack of professionalism on the part of the Board of WMI
- Difference in vision/mission
- Adequately responding to ongoing criticism
- Lack of building a sustaining enterprise that helps/benefits sister march states
- Lack of transparency regarding finances
- Hierarchical structure that does not take into account the multitude of individual Women’s Marchers that are the backbone of this movement
“Women’s March Minnesota looks forward to serving as a gateway to intersectional feminism in Minnesota that activates and engages people through introspection, learning, and collaboration in order to achieve equality, equity, and justice,” the statement concluded.
Since its inception, Women’s March, Inc. has struggled with its branding as leaders, such as Linda Sarsour, faced allegations of anti-Semitism.
One of the founders of the Women’s March, Teresa Shook, released a statement in November 2018 calling on leaders of the organization to step down for their refusal to condemn anti-Semitic and homophobic statements made by well-known allies.
“Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc. have steered the movement away from its true course,” Shook said. “I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not. In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism and anti-LGBTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.”
The group also risked losing its non-profit status after violating IRS rules during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The group provided post-and-forfeit payments, sums used to resolve low-level misdemeanors, to activists who were arrested for disrupting the confirmation hearings.
In a questionnaire, they asked activists who wished to partake in the disruptions if they could “participate in civil disobedience/risk arrest.”
IRS rules state that such behavior is “incompatible with charity and social welfare.”
During the 2019 Women’s March in Minnesota, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) was the only elected official from Minnesota to speak at the event, despite the organization’s condemnation of “those who have engaged in anti-Semitic, anti-woman, and anti-LGBTQ hate speech.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Women’s March Minnesota” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.