New Orleans Women's March Canceled Amid National anti-Semitism Controversy

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FILE Photo: Several thousand people during the Women's March in New Orleans, January 21, 2017.
FILE Photo: Several thousand people during the Women's March in New Orleans, January 21, 2017.Credit: Max Becherer,AP

The 2019 Women’s March in New Orleans has been canceled following controversy over the national movement’s organizers, the local chapter announced late Saturday.

The group said it was refunding money already spent on T-shirts and donations given to support the event set for January 19 – the day marches are set to be held around the country for the third year in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump’s election.

The announcement, which appeared on the Facebook page of a Louisiana chapter of the National Organization for Women, attributed the decision to “several issues” but spoke specifically of the “unwillingness” of Women’s March co-chairs to step down in the wake of revelations regarding anti-Semitic remarks and their decision not to renounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

>> Opinion: Farrakhan's hate speech leads to actual abuse of Jews. I just experienced it

The official announcement on the Baton Rouge chapter's Facebook page. Credit: Facebook

The announcement said that although many of the sister marches by chapters around the country asked the leaders “to resign,” they “have yet to do so.”

“The controversy is dampening efforts of sister marches to fundraise, enlist involvement, find sponsors and attendee numbers have drastically declined this year,” the announcement said, adding that it was “time to look past the marching and look towards a new stage of the movement.”

The group encouraged supporters to find other “ways to get involved” in activism in their local communities, saying “there are many advocacy groups doing great work in our state that should be supported with your time and money.”

The 2019 Chicago Women's March was canceled several weeks ago for similar reasons. The cancellation of the large scale march was announced by the Women’s March Chicago organization, citing limited “time, money and effort,” but in their announcement, they promised “an exciting WMC anniversary action.”

Fallout from the controversy has affected the activity of Women’s March chapters across the country, with several local branches curtailing activities, cutting ties to the national group or issuing statements denouncing them, or even disbanding.

The national group and its leaders have attempted to counter criticism by issuing clarifications and apologies, and recently it was revealed that they have been working with progressive Jewish groups to repair their relationship with the Jewish community.

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