December 31, 2018 12:24 pm
Updated: December 31, 2018 12:25 pm

Women’s march in California cancelled by organizers for being ‘overwhelmingly white’

Participants at the 2018 Women's March in New York.

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An annual women’s march in Humboldt County, Calif., has been cancelled over concerns that the event would lack representation and that participants would be “overwhelmingly white.”

On Dec. 28, organizers of the 2019 Eureka Women’s March posted a statement on the event’s Facebook page, saying their decision to cancel the Jan. 19 rally was made after “many conversations between local social change organizers and supporters of the march.”

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The cancellation comes amid division and larger conversations about diversity and representation in the international Women’s March movement.

“The local organizers are continuing to meet and discuss how to broaden representation in the organizing committee to create an event that represents and supports peoples who live here in Humboldt,” the statement read.

“Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community. Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach.”

The Eureka organizers said they are “exploring” the idea of holding an event in March to celebrate International Women’s Day. They also encouraged people to attend the local Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Jan. 21.

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The rally cancellation has received mixed responses. Some people have commended the statement and said the move was the right call.

“I applaud the decision,” one commenter wrote on Facebook.

“I have boycotted the march since the beginning as it has been a process that, by default, has incorporated institutional racism, transphobia and a lack of support of sex workers. A march that, intentional or not, ignores intersectionalism and the inherent racism of current feminist movements.”

Others were against the cancellation.

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“I think cancelling it may end up losing sight of the good in the quest for the perfect,” one person replied.

“Please reconsider and do so without in any way closing the door to people of varied backgrounds and cultures who want to become organizers.”

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Another person questioned whether the group consulted with other members of the community while planning the march and expressed concerns that “people of colour are being used as a crutch for the organizing committee failing to do the work it takes to encourage diversity.”

“The planning committee was colonized from the beginning,” the commenter wrote.

“If you had reached out to community experts of colour in the first place and made it a safe space, this would not have happened.”

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This isn’t the first Women’s March event that has been tied to controversy.

There has been widespread division among organizers around representation and race, and most recently, there have been accusations of anti-Semitism in the movement.

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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