Woman’s March creator asks the four co-chairs, including Perez, Mallory, and Sarsour, to step down; new accusations surface about conflicts of interest and mismanagement of funds

November 20, 2018 • 11:00 am

Teresa Shook bills herself as “Founder of the Women’s March,” and there’s some justification for that according to the Wikipedia page on the 2017 Women’s March (the first one):

In November 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, in reaction to Trump’s election campaign and political views, and his defeat of female presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Teresa Shook of Hawaii created a Facebook event and invited friends to march on Washington in protest. Similar Facebook pages created by Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, Bob Bland (a New York fashion designer), Breanne Butler, and others quickly led to thousands of women signing up to march. Harmon, Pearson, and Butler decided to unite their efforts and consolidate their pages, beginning the official Women’s March on Washington. To ensure that the march was led by women of differing races and backgrounds, Vanessa Wruble, co-founder, and co-president of Okayafrica, served as Head of Campaign Operations and brought on Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour to serve as National Co-Chairs alongside Bland. Former Miss New Jersey USA Janaye Ingram served as Head of Logistics. Filmmaker Paola Mendoza served as Artistic Director and a National Organizer.

I haven’t written much about Bob Bland (Bland is a woman whose real name is Mari Lynn Bland), for she hasn’t been on my radar since I’ve been following Sarsour, Perez and Mallory sucking up to Louis Farrakhan and praising cop-killers and terrorists. But Bland was among the four people whom, according to The Hill and other sources, Shook has asked to resign as co-presidents of the Women’s March.  Shook wrote a post on her Facebook page asking for Bland, Perez, Mallory, and Sarsour to step down and “let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent.”

Shooks’s reasons are the same one that led Alyssa Milano and then Deborah Messing to separate themselves from the Women’s Movement: the connection of those who lead an supposedly intersectionalist movement with arrant anti-Semites and homophobes, and bigots against transgender people.

Here’s Shook’s post from her Facebook page (click on the screenshot to see the original post):

We also know that the Women’s March, Inc., the firm run by Sarsour et al., organizes only the March in Washington: other cities’ marches are organized independently. Nevertheless, the NYC March has accused Sarsour of bullying tactics, trying to control the NYC March. In return, the Women’s March, Inc. has sued to gain complete control over the name “Women’s March.”

The Women’s March, Inc. is the big vehicle for Sarsour, Perez, Mallory and Bland to remain in the public eye and relevant, though I don’t doubt that in three of these people—I’m excluding the odious Sarsour—there is a real intent to remedy injustice and oppression against women of all stripes. (Sarsour, I think, is in it for her own political ambitions, her own self-aggrandizement, and perhaps to further an Islamist agenda). At any rate, I don’t expect any of these women to go gentle into oblivion. Sarsour, for one, would just go back to being, as she used to call herself, “an ordinary white girl.” Nothing special about that! And so the three have responded on the Women’s March Facebook page (click on screenshot below to go to the post):

Here we see the usual response to criticism of the Women’s March: such criticism constitutes an irresponsible attack on women of color (isn’t it important that all women unite in the Women’s March?). And there’s no sign that these four are going to give up their jobs. However, their movement is splintering rapidly, and I think it unseemly that any women would march under a banner carried by Perez, Mallory, Sarsour, and Bland.

It becomes even worse because, as one site reports, the Women’s March, Inc. leaders are using Nation of Islam members as bodyguards as well as misusing the March’s funds.

This accusation comes not from some outside critic, but from Mercy Morganfield, a black woman who was past president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Woman’s March. Have a gander at her comment on Shook’s post below (click on screenshot to see the original). She accuses the co-Presidents of “traveling with a glam squad,” using a Nation of Islam detail as  security guards (if this is true, it partly explains the refusal of Sarsour, Perez, and Mallory to directly criticize Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism and homophobia), of “flying their friends and family everywhere,” and staying in five-star hotels.

If these allegations are true—and the press should surely check on them—then all four co-Presidents should step down immediately (Morganfield wants six people to step down).

The most important allegation to check is Morganfield’s claim that Nation of Islam guards (perhaps the “Fruit of Islam” detail that guards Farrakhan as well) serve as security for the Women’s March. Given Farrakhan’s history of bigotry and the accusations that the Women’s March leaders are in bed with Farrakhan, this is a clear financial and moral conflict of interest. Perhaps some very weak evidence comes from the exchange below (“very weak” because it shows only that Sarsour has a security detail, though it doesn’t specify who they are).

So who does compose that security detail? Inquiring minds want to know.

Of course you won’t read about any of this in the mainstream press, which keeps their hands off women of color. But you can bet that if the Women’s March were a right-wing organization, the press would be all over it like ugly on a frog.


24 thoughts on “Woman’s March creator asks the four co-chairs, including Perez, Mallory, and Sarsour, to step down; new accusations surface about conflicts of interest and mismanagement of funds

  1. Hey! Our fellow Rana-Americans are offended by the slur. They may be a bit big mouthed and their eyes do that weird thing when they swallow (and, TBH, some are kinda warty) but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yo.

  2. Thanks for an interesting post.

    I wonder what legal options are available to Ms. Shook? Is “Women’s March, Inc.” really some kind of legal entity? And, if so, who has control legally? (Perhaps this is explained in the linked articles, which I have not read.)

    It is so sad when such organizations start well but fall victim to people who want to seize control for their own purposes and dissolve into petty, and not so petty, bickering. I suspect that part of the problem is that they get started informally and, lacking a solid constitution with checks and balances, they fall apart just like poorly run countries.

    1. If they had developed a governing board, with power to assign or de-assign, then the leaders could be voted out. I don’t see that happening, though. So maybe there can be an emergence of a broader popular uprising? I don’t really know how these things work, though.

  3. Us “free speech warriors” got it right (as per usual) two years ago.

    We pointed out that many of the aims of the Women’s March were honourable, but some of the company it keeps, and most crucially, some of its most prominent leaders, were, to use use one of their terms, “problematic”.

    I mean, is it really a surprise that a movement that gave Donna Hylton such a prominent role, turned out to be “problematic”.

    Oh, and Linda Sarsour’s stock answer since time immemorial, has been to attack the characteristics of the people criticising her, rather than their argument. Hence, she dismisses virtually everyone with: “you’re a white woman/man, and I am a person of colour. Nah nah, nah, nah nah”.

    This line of “reasoning” impresses anti-skeptic, anti-liberal failures such as PZ Myers. It doesn’t wash with reasonable and intelligent people.

      1. He will identity as whatever his “horde” finds least offensive……

        This was why he threw skepticism, logic, facts, science, liberalism and humanism under the bus a loooong time ago.

        1. Once he realized he had zero chance of joining the “Four Horsemen” big guns/replacing Hitchens in that group (I can’t help but laugh at his outrageously outsized assessment of his own worth and intelligence, his hubris, and his ego, all of which have only grown the lower he sinks), he pivoted to trying to make himself as popular as possible with the crowd that hates them. He seems to be a man who, above all, just wants attention and adoration. And he scratches and claws every day to get just a bit more, even as his stock continues to plummet.

          If he hadn’t been part of the atheist community, he probably would have ended up trying to be a cult leader. I say “trying” because he lacks even 1/50 of the charisma to succeed at that.

          Sorry, I know I’m being mean, but PZ and his little circle of malcontents are among the few people in this world who bring out the side of me that slings insults like this. But are they really insults if they’re true, or are they just unfortunate statements of facts?

          1. I think that his trajectory (and Atheism + more generally) should have been a cautionary tale about how humans are susceptible to religious thinking. At that time it was the so called atheist community, now we see it in campuses and in the society at large, especially in cultural venues. Being nominally non religious often means just abandoning traditional cults for modern (and sometimes more virulent) ones.

            1. As Atheism+ went, so goes the Women’s March…

              (I see it all as confirmation of one deep underlying fundamental truth – Shit Happens


  4. I love the subtle dismissal of Shook’s early contributions. If these were men saying ‘Gosh, thanks for creating that Facebook event,’ there would be a terrible outcry. Alas, when women do it to each other it’s somehow…virtuous? Hogwash. Greedy, hypocritical parasites are represented in all genders.

  5. Good for Shook and Morganfield! I doubt that the fantastic four will agree to step out of the limelight and give up all the money they seem to have misappropriated for personal gain. At least this may get many people to stop supporting their racist and sexist organization.

  6. I wonder what the tipping point was for Shook, who indicates that she’d been waiting for something to happen to resolve the situation.

  7. “…Perez, Mallory and Bland to remain in the public eye and relevant, though I don’t doubt that in three of these people—I’m excluding the odious Sarsour—there is a real intent to remedy injustice and oppression against women of all stripes.”

    May I ask why? Farrakhan has said things about women that are almost as bad as what he’s said about Jews. It’s like saying you can hand out with and consistently praise Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, while still having a real intent to remedy injustice against women and stand against the murder of journalists.

    Anyway, it seems Ms. Shook is white, so we know what the response will be from these three figures and their “communications director,” since we’ve already seen it directed at Milano and Messing.

    1. The important thing is that it’s getting harder for progressives to buy what they’re selling. Even in progressive information silos like dailykos public opinion is turning on Sarsour and friends.

      1. I hope you’re right. I can only speak from my own anecdotal evidence, which is that I have explained sent multiple articles about this over the last couple of years to multiple people I know who support this group (many of these people are Jewish), and all of their answers boiled down to “so what? It’s still a good thing. I’ll continue supporting this organization, promoting it, and sending it money.”

  8. More seriously–its tough to separate calls for justice and equity from power grabs.
    And this is not new. I was shocked (I shouldnt have been capable of being shocked at my advnaced age, but there it is) to find how racist (e.g.) Susan B. Anthony was capapble of being in response to black men getting the vote before white women did. A naive oberver might think that common cause against the oppressor was easy to manage. Nope.

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