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Being Brown at the Women’s March

By Itzel Padrón Zuñiga

Based on the Facebook event for the Iowa women’s march, and my general experience with white feminism, I was nervous about the march. In the past, feminist spaces that were organized by white women have left me feeling drained. How sad is it that as a woman and a feminist, I’ve come to be distrustful of “women” centered events? But I was hopeful. With news about the women’s march on Washington becoming more “radical” and “intersectional,” I had hope.

The event was white. White. White. White. Very white. I expected it, stayed alert, and tried to listen to the speakers. I couldn’t pay attention. During our time there, at least ten white women asked for pictures of my friends and I, mostly young people of color. Couldn’t help but wonder how many “likes” they would get, and whether that would make them feel good about themselves. Or whether we would become proof that the women’s march was diverse.

I felt so angry. Where were these white women when Donald Trump referred to Mexicans as rapists? Threatened to build a wall? Called Muslims terrorists? What took these people so long? Most carried signs about “love” and “equality” but none about justice or action. Everyone there claimed to love us but no one was telling me how they would practice their love.

I wondered if we would even have to be here if these white women had practiced their love before the election. If they, as white women, had denounced Trump BEFORE he got elected. If that had happened, my friends would not be scared of losing DACA, having their families torn apart, being forced on a Muslim registry, losing their healthcare, etc. We are scared while they are “hopeful and inspired.” We chanted, but no one would chant along with us so we left. All there is to do is resist and hope that these marchers commit to loving us. I stay bitter but hopeful.

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