Three founding Women's March leaders leaving board after anti-Semitism accusations

“Grateful for the brilliant movement leaders who have stepped up to continue to shepherd this organization and water the seeds that we planted,” they said.
Image: Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, and Linda Sarsour attend the Time 100 Gala in New York in 2017.
Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, and Linda Sarsour attend the Time 100 Gala in New York in 2017.Taylor Hill / FilmMagic file

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By Daniella Silva

Three founding members of the Women’s March who faced accusations of anti-Semitism will leave the organization’s board.

Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour will transition off the Women’s March Board “onto other projects focused on advocacy within their respective organizations,” the organization said in a statement on Monday.

The group, which helped organize massive demonstrations following the election of President Donald Trump, announced it was appointing 17 movement leaders to its national board with the goal of continuing “to ignite civic imagination and action in communities all across the country.”

“Our mission was to build a powerful institution that defied the status quo, centered the leadership of women of color and united diverse women around a set of principles that are intersectional, visionary and bold and we feel accomplished,” the three women said in a statement released by the organization.

“Grateful for the brilliant movement leaders who have stepped up to continue to shepherd this organization and water the seeds that we planted,” they said. “We look forward to spending the next 14 months building power and engaging voters nationwide to win this critical election.”

The organization helped bring millions of people from all over the country to protest a day after Trump’s inauguration in a massive demonstration that has been called the largest single-day protest in the country’s history. The group has continued to hold mass protests but its leaders have been mired in controversy critics believed could hurt the movement.

The groups founding members, including fourth co-chair Carmen Perez-Jordan, had faced accusations of anti-Semitism in part over their association with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has been denounced for making anti-Semitic and homophobic comments. The women have repeatedly denied the claims and denounced anti-Semitism, but some critics have said its response did not come fast enough or was not strong enough.

Perez-Jordan will remain on the new national board.

“Perez-Jordan aims to use her position on the new board to build bridges between communities and mentor a new generation of feminist leaders,” the group wrote.

The 16 new board members are Samia Assed, Zahra Billoo, Charlene Carruthers, Mrinalini Chakraborty, Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, Sarah Eagle Heart, Lucy Flores, Ginny Goldman, Ginna Green, Shawna Knipper, Isa Noyola, Kelley Robinson, Rinku Sen, Leslie Templeton and Lu-Shawn Thompson.

Earlier this year, some local organizers sought to distance themselves from the group ahead of the 2019 Women’s March protests and several groups, including Emily’s List, were absent from the 2019 list of sponsors partners after appearing in previous years.

The group said the 17 board members were selected through an open-call solicitation and board nomination committee and transitioned into their leadership roles in July.

The announcement of the new board members comes ahead of a presidential election year and less than a month before the first protest under the new leaders in Washington on Oct. 6 to protest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.