The leaders behind the Women’s March are gearing up for their first national convention next month, aiming to build on momentum from January’s march and turn it into tangible action.
Thousands of women and men are expected to attend the three-day convention beginning Oct. 27 in Detroit. A slew of yet-to-be-finalized activists and leaders will be speaking and sitting on panels. Panelists will address how to run for office, fundraising for causes, protests and other topics.
Linda Sarsour, an organizer of the Women’s March, said the original march the day after President Trump’s inauguration was an emotional rebuke to his presidency. In contrast, the October convention will be more about instruction, training and informing people about how to be effective leaders and activists.
“These are people who are still fired up,” she said. “What they are looking for is another opportunity to build, and feel inspired and motivated. But they are also looking for instruction. There was no instruction at the actual march.”
So far, 2,300 people have registered for the convention, and organizers expect upward of 3,000 to attend. Organizers this week announced partners for the event, which include the progressive organizations Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and MomsRising.
The registration fee is $295 per person and $125 for those under 25. Organizers say they realize price could be a barrier for people to attend and raised money to defray costs for about 500 attendees, including many from the Detroit area.
“When you look at Detroit, there is no better place to be where there is a microcosm of all the issues we are looking at all in one spot,” organizer Tamika Mallory said, referring to poverty, gentrification and police abuse.
The planning of the original Women’s March exposed racial, socioeconomic and political rifts within the feminist movement, with some criticizing the march as being mostly for white women.
Farah Tanis, executive director of Black Women’s Blue Print, is planning the March for Black Women on Saturday in the nation’s capital, which is dedicated to ending injustices that black women disproportionately experience. She said many black women did not participate in the Women’s March because they were “disappointed with our white sisters,” the majority of whom voted for Trump.
“I think the Women’s March needs to create space for contingents of black women — for black women to be there and to be in leadership inside of this convention,” Tanis said.
Organizers say a diverse group of women has been working with community organizations to ensure that those working on the ground in local communities have the opportunity to attend. The convention will touch on civil rights, reproductive justice, gender justice and immigrant rights, among other topics.
“We are excited and working hard on making sure that this conference is one that really gives women and our allies opportunities to learn and grow and really become strong, well-oiled machines in this resistance movement and this moment,” Mallory said. “There is a lot of training and a lot of experts coming in.”