On January 20, in preparation for the next day’s march, AAPF joined Eve Ensler and One Billion Rising for “The Poetry of Rising and Resistance.” Hosted at Busboys and Poets, the event brought together hundreds to eat, drink and discuss the upcoming rally. Social justice leaders and several artists, including Grammy-nominated singer, Hollis Wong-Wear and noted documentarian Michael Moore, got up on stage to discuss the possibilities for progressive resistance in the new era of Trump. Renowned playwright and AAPF Board Member, Eve Ensler, recited a rousing poem, chanting "it is not alright!" to the crowd. As the night came to a close, Kimberlé brought Abby Dobson, AAPF Artist-in-Residence, to the stage to perform Say Her Name, asking the audience to reckon with state violence against Black women and girls and elevating their place within the context of the coming march. We also debuted our new “Predator-in-Chief and his villainous villains” design. A humorous take on a dark subject, the design was wildly successful throughout the weekend, popping up on signs and posters at marches across the country.
On January 21, AAPF took to the streets with the ground-breaking half-a-million protesters marching in Washington D.C. Amidst the calls and chants for massive resistance to the incoming administration’s agenda, our team raised our voices to highlight the special role that women and girls of color must play in the future of social justice. Together with Fran Garrett, the mother of Michelle Cusseaux, Rhanda Dormeus, the mother of Korryn Gaines, and Vicky Coles-McAdory, the “Auntie-Momma” of India Beaty, we marched for the recognition of the Black women killed by police. We are deeply thankful to One Billion Rising, V-Day and all those who joined us for lending their voices to center Black women and girls in a space that was largely white and, at times, exclusionary of many of those who are structurally marginalized in our society.
In the aftermath of the March, our Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw and Associate Director Julia Sharpe-Levine participated in Where We Go From Here: A Women’s Reception and Town Hall hosted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Sitting alongside other giants in contemporary feminist activism including Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood), Linda Sarsour (The Women’s March; Arab American Association of New York), and Claudia Galindo (National Domestic Worker’s Alliance), Kimberlé spoke on the state of contemporary intersectional activism and the need to deepen our engagement with uplifting and advocating for those who experience oppression across the spectrum of identity. Afterwards, Julia offered the crowd tips on how to utilize the momentum from the march to support women and girls of color as well as different ways to incorporate intersectional thinking into their movements.
We left the Women's March with a greater understanding of the state of intersectional activism and the work that lies ahead. AAPF must redouble its commitment to educate and advocate around intersectional feminism; to raise awareness of the issues faced by women of color at the margins of our society; to support the leadership of women of color; and to demand accountability from our allies as we push for a cross-coalitional movement that supports all of us. If you too walked away from last weekend determined to do more, we urge you to stand with us. It is essential that we show up and work with each other. Only then can we build a truly interconnected movement of movements that is centered around the experiences of those who are most vulnerable.