Million Woman March celebrates 20 years

SHANICE LEWIS | 10/19/2017, 3:13 p.m.
The monumental and original Million Woman March will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the launch of a new Global Movement ...
Million Woman March celebrates 20 years Herb Boyd

The monumental and original Million Woman March will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the launch of a new Global Movement for Women and Girls of African Descent worldwide.

Sunday, Oct. 29, the Million Woman March will commence its annual gathering of millions of Black women from across the country. Black women originally came together to march Oct. 25, 1997, to shed light on the Black woman’s experience in America.

“The MWM 20 Reunion will reconnect millions throughout the U.S. as well as unify and positively impact the lives of millions more, worldwide. Committed to the Upliftment and Empowerment of Africana females, in particular, and the Ongoing Fight for Justice and Freedom for Black/African People, in general,” stated the MWM Universal Movements.

The festivities leading up to the commencement will start Wednesday, Oct. 25, with the first annual International African Women’s Solidarity & Appreciation Day. The event is said to unify African women throughout the diaspora and implement the launch of the African Women’s Global Strike program. Along with the program the day will focus on bringing increased attention to the many types of violations against Black/Africana women and girls and the "need for 'direct actions' to qualitatively fight against all forms of violence and abuses of females of African descent, regardless of nationality, education, social status, age or religion."

The MWM celebration follows last month’s March for Black Women in Washington, D.C., where organizers presented a list of demands on their website that calls for an apology to all Black women “for centuries of abuses, including sexual violence and reproductive violations against Black bodies.”

The second demand calls for “immediate and sustainable measures” from the U.S. government that would eliminate an array of sexual assaults and violence against all Black women, “especially transwomen,” because of incarceration and police violence.

Other demands include increased access to health care, including reproductive care, “economic justice for Black low-income women” and the ceasing of deportation of immigrant women.

For centuries Black women have been the backbone of American society while suffering in the most egregious ways and reaping no benefits. According to the Center of American Progress, women of color are a growing demographic and continue to shape the nation’s political and economic climate but are still largely underrepresented when it comes to access to health care, political leadership and the workplace wage gap.

The march took place just 41 years after the passing of the Hyde Amendment, a policy that denies abortion coverage to women enrolled in Medicaid. Women of color make up half of all women who are enrolled in Medicaid. According to the CAP, women of color are greatly affected by this exclusion of abortion services because of their high rates of unintended pregnancies and inability to pay out of pocket for abortions. Their inability to pay frequently stems from their prominence in representing low-wage jobs.

The MWM 20 Reunion Assembly Procession will begin at City Hall located at 15th and Market Street in Philadelphia at 7 a.m. For more information on the event, visit millionwomanmarch20.com.