The Women’s March Phoenix will go on this weekend, even as the local group organzing the event has distanced itself from the national movement, which has been mired in controversy over allegations of anti-Semitic comments from its leaders and their connections to an anti-Semitic minister.
The Phoenix group said it was never an official chapter under the national organization Women’s March Inc., and only had “little connections” related to web listings and conference calls.
“Each year we would reach out to national for them to list us as an official march in Phoenix,” organizer Murphy Bannerman said. “This year, due to the issues happening at national, we have decided to not list our march on their website.”
The event will take place Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Arizona State Capitol. The march is in its third year. In 2017, around 20,000 people gathered in Phoenix. Last year, there were about 25,000 attendees, organizers said.
More than 50 organizations will participate in the event Saturday, organizer Eva Burch said.
“This has always been a local movement put on by women who live in Arizona,” Burch said.
Instead of relying on crowdfunding to raise money to cover the cost of the march, the Phoenix event is largely funded by sponsors like Planned Parenthood, Bannerman said.
“As always, we invite all who stand with the unifying principles of ending violence, protecting the reproductive rights of women, supporting the rights of the LGBTQIA community, advocating for wage equity, defending civil rights, promoting environmental justice, the rights of immigrants, and disability rights,” the group said in a press release.
A ‘women’s wave’ in Arizona
This year’s march is themed “Rising Together” to highlight the intersectionality with other movements including #RedforEd, March for Lives and the Equal Rights Amendment, an initiative advocating to codify protections against sex discrimination.
Organizers of the Phoenix event also hope the gathering will be a celebration of the recent work that led to a “women’s wave” in the midterm elections in Arizona, Bannerman said.
“We have a lot of really strong women that were elected, so we’re celebrating the work that we put in this past year,” she said.