March in DC on January 21 – UPDATE as of Dec. 15, 2016
Thank you for the feedback that we have received from members both thanking the LWVUS Board for the decision to not officially participate in the Women’s March on Washington and for those who have requested the Board reconsider the decision. There is tremendous passion and strong sentiments on both sides of this issue.
As leaders for our respective League organizations, we need to consider our participation through multiple lens – activists, influencers, and organizational leaders. As organizational leaders, protecting our brand and assets, as well as considering the safety of members and staff must be at the forefront of our thoughts. We have continued to monitor the media as well as engage in conversations with leaders of other organizations. Based on the information now available, we note:
- The national march organizers have obtained a permit and have engaged three veteran organizers of color into their leadership ranks.
- While the Women’s March on Washington developed organically in the spirit of sisterhood post-election, there is a very real perception problem with the timing of this march. The day after inauguration, this event will be viewed by many as a protest against the incoming Trump administration. Because the League is a non-partisan organization, and we never endorse or oppose specific candidates, we cannot risk appearing to be an anti-Trump organization.
- March organizers have yet to release any details of safety or security measures being taken to protect the women and men who plan to march. The issue of risk and the seriousness of liability for organizations who elect to officially participate in the march is something we all need to consider especially since the national organization (s) planning the march are not visible. The issue of risk and liability is an issue for all Leagues.
- Organizers have not shared the names of any organizations officially partnering and participating in the festivities. While they promise to include nationally recognized advocates, the League has not been officially approached in any capacity.
We believe the intentions of the Women’s March organizers are good – and we do not discourage private citizens from taking part in this event. At this time, LWVUS continues to monitor the plans for this event but we will not officially participate in the Women’s March on Washington nor should state and local Leagues officially participate. There are still too many unanswered questions to help us safeguard our brand, assets, and the safety of members, volunteers and staff.
Chris Carson, President/Chair
League of Women Voters of the United States