Thousands of Protesters Rallied Together for the 2019 Women's March With Messages of Unity Amid Controversy

Thousands of women across the United States came out in full force on Saturday to take part in the 2019 Women’s March, its third year for the annual demonstration, to fight for women’s rights.

The demonstration, which began as a response to the then-incoming President Donald Trump and first took place the day after his inauguration, featured messages of unity amid the controversy surrounding the leadership of the Women’s March Inc.

According to ABC News, the leadership has faced accusations of anti-Semitism and racism this past year. The allegations of past controversial comments made by some of the march’s leaders were brought about in an article published by the online Jewish magazine Tablet, becoming heavily discussed and criticized.

Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory had been criticized for her relationship with leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan, who has been accused of anti-Semitism. Appearing on ABC's The View, Mallory drew more fuel to the fire when she defended her relationship with Farrakhan.

“As a leader, as a black leader in a country that is still dealing with some very serious unresolved issues as it relates to the black experience in this country, I go into a lot of difficult spaces,” Mallory said. “Wherever my people are, there that’s where I must also be.”

The following day, however, the NAACP and the Democratic National Committee withdrew as partners of the annual demonstration, but Planned Parenthood remained as a partner.

But at the march on Saturday, Mallory appeared to be all-inclusive, saying to the crowd gathered on the National Mall, “To all my sisters, I see you. To my Muslim sisters, I see you. To my Latina sisters, I see you. To my Asian sisters, I see you. To my Jewish sisters, I see all of you. I see your pain. And to my black sisters, I SEE YOU!”

Despite the march being mired in controversy, the message of unity still appeared to be strong.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a rising star in the Democratic Party, urged on the crowd to “uplift all of our voice,” and noted that now was the time to act after the Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representative in the recent midterm election.

“It is so incredibly important to uplift all of our voices. And to make sure the least among us advocated the most. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of black women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of trans women. That means we will not be quiet when it comes to the rights of poor women. And middle-class women. And working-class women. And all women in the United States and in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“Last year we brought the power to the polls, and this year we need to make sure we translate that power into policy,” she added. “That means we will not let anyone take our rights away. In fact, we will expand them.”

According to The Huffington Post, the freshman congresswoman listed priorities such as the Equal Rights Amendment, paid parental leave and equal pay for women.

Appeared at another march location in New York, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that justice was a real-world issue that has consequences, HuffPost reports.

“Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy is it to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid,” she said. “Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as being quiet. In fact, oftentimes, the most righteous thing you can do is shake the table.”

While campaigning for president in Iowa on Saturday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appeared at the Women’s March there and condemned anti-Semitism.

“I will make this very clear. We know there is no room for anti-Semitism anywhere in our movement. We know this. We know that our movement is empowered when all of us lift each other,” Gillibrand said.

Speaking inside the Iowa State Capitol, Gillibrand called the first Women’s March in 2017 “the most inspiring moment of my political life,” according to CNN.

“Two years ago, the most inspiring moment of my political life happened, the women’s movement was reborn,” Gillibrand said. “The first women’s march didn’t look like any other women’s movement that we have seen before. It was people of all races, religions, gender identities, socio-economic background and ages in hundreds of cities across America.”

Gillibrand urged the crowd to “keep marching” and to not give up in the face of some of the recent difficulties in our society.

Other lawmakers also joined marches, including Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Katie Hill (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), The Washington Times reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the Women’s March in San Francisco.