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National controversy won’t slow down Women’s March Phoenix, organizers say

By: - January 15, 2019 2:17 pm

The 2017 Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017. Photo by Einar Kvaran | Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

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.

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Laura Gómez
Laura Gómez

Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez covers state politics and immigration for the Arizona Mirror. She was named Best Investigative Reporter by Phoenix Magazine in its 2018 newspaper category and has been honored by the Arizona Press Club for education, immigration, political, and public safety reporting and Spanish-language news and feature reporting. Laura worked for The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona for four years, covering city government, economic development, immigration, politics and trade. In 2017, Laura traveled the length of the U.S.-Mexico border for “The Wall,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning project produced by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia and lived in Puerto Rico and Boston before moving to Phoenix in 2014. Catch her researching travel deals, feasting on mariscos or playing soccer.