Marches are being held across the country on Saturday, the second anniversary of the first Women’s March which was held the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

The Washington, D.C., march in 2017 was the flagship protest that year, drawing hundreds of thousands of people protesting the new administration.

Organizers are expecting far fewer in attendance this year, due to weather conditions, a lack of funding and controversy.

The march in Washington has been scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

Check below for updates as they happened:

Controversy over alleged anti-Semitism
This year’s march has been roiled by an intense ideological debate.

In November, Teresa Shook, one of the Women’s March founders, accused the four main leaders of the national march organization of anti-Semitism. The accusation was leveled at two primary leaders: Linda Sarsour, who has criticized Israeli policy, and Tamika Mallory, who has maintained an association with Louis Farrakhan, leader of Nation of Islam, which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group.

In a Facebook post, Shook claimed Sarsour and Mallory, along with fellow organizers Bob Bland and Carmen Perez, had “steered the Movement away from its true course” and called for all four to step down.

The four march organizers have denied the charge, but Sarsour has publicly expressed regret that they were not “faster and clearer in helping people understand our values.”

This week, Mallory appeared on “The View” defending her association with Farrakhan.

Sarsour told “CBS This Morning” Friday that “everybody’s in our movement.”

“It’s difficult, it’s messy, to create a big tent, but we have tried to do that,” Sarsour said about trying to ensure inclusivity within the movement.

However, controversy has led some prominent organizations and politicians to distance themselves from the march. The Democratic National Committee and nearly 300 other organizations that endorsed the 2017 march have disaffiliated with this year’s event. Very few potential or current 2020 presidential candidates are participating, two years after politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris made prominent appearances at marches.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has announced a presidential bid, will attend a march in Iowa, but Gillibrand’s spokesperson took care to distance the senator from the official march.

“Senator Gillibrand strongly condemns anti-Semitism from anyone, in all forms, and believes it has no place in a movement for women’s empowerment or anywhere else,” Meredith Kelly, Gillibrand’s communications director, said in a statement. “She is looking forward to being in Iowa and will not turn her back on the thousands of Iowa women who are joining this locally organized march to advocate for the issues that deeply impact them and their families.”

Women’s March leaders speak
Carmen Perez, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, addressed the anti-Semitism controversy, saying that the organization condemns any bigotry.

“I want to be unequivocal in affirming that women’s march, and I and my sisters condemn anti-Semitism,” she said. “There is no defense of bigotry. There is no excuse for hatred.”

Mallory then spoke, discussing her upbringing in Harlem during the 1980s crack epidemic as an implicit explanation for why she was raised to support leaders like Farrakhan. She then talked about intersectionality in feminism.

“To all my sisters, I see you,” she said. “To my Jewish sisters, do not let anybody tell you who I am. I see all of you.”

She added that “no one will define for me who I am, only I can do that.”

Sarsour said that the women’s march will not accept any deal on building a border wall, as news came out today that President Trump was considering a deal.

Songs, speeches at Washington March
Although no prominent politicians made an appearance, a diverse group of women spoke at the Washington march. Speakers included indigenous women, Christian ministers, rabbis, and LGBTQ women, as well as some musical appearances from women singers.

At one point, a rabbi said that “a lot in the media are trying to divide us,” presumably referring to the controversy over leadership.

“What brings us together is not what is the same, what brings us together are our differences,” she said.

Protesters gather at marches around the world
Although the focal point of the women’s marches, the United States is not the only location where demonstrations are occurring. Protesters gathered in Berlin, Rome and London on Saturday to march for women’s rights.

Protesters take part in the Women’s March calling for equality, justice and an end to austerity in London
A protester holds up a sign in London on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.
Tropics at the rally included women’s equality, racial equality, immigration reform and abortion rights.

Despite the cold weather, protesters marched in Washington, D.C, with anti-Trump balloons waving over the march.

Women’s March Washington
A group hold up signs at freedom plaza during the women’s march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.
Upstate New York sees multiple marches, but one is postponed
Women’s marches are coming to two upstate New York cities this weekend, but a coming winter storm has led to the postponement of one in Buffalo.

The first so-called sister march in Saratoga Springs is slated for Saturday as women unite to make their voices heard. A rally is also planned at West Capitol Park in Albany.

Organizers cited expected high winds, wind chill and snow in postponing Sunday afternoon’s women’s march in Buffalo. No new date has been picked. Organizers are pushing to guarantee women’s health, safety and freedom from violence and to increase equality for women.

A large, powerful and dangerous winter storm is taking aim at about one-third of the nation this weekend. It rapidly moved from the Central Plains to the Midwest and is heading toward the Northeast.

The storm is expected to drop snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice in many places. After that, temperatures are expected to turn bitterly cold. More than 1,100 flights were canceled Saturday due to the weather.

Protesters in NYC hold competing marches
The New York City chapter of Women’s March Inc. will be holding one March on Saturday, and the non-profit Women’s March Alliance will be holding a competing march.

Katherine Siemionko, a former Goldman Sachs vice president who leads the Women’s March Alliance, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the charges of anti-Semitism were an additional factor in the schism, but not the main issue dividing the women’s march events in New York.

Despite attempted leadership talks, the two groups broke off due to disagreements over leadership and planning discussions.

Marches to be held across the country
Local chapters and organizations will be holding marches across the country. March Forward Massachusetts will be organizing a march in Boston, which will feature newly elected Rep. Ayanna Pressley. A march in Atlanta will include another newly elected congresswoman, Rep. Lucy McBath.

Around 100,000 marchers are expected in Los Angeles, where speakers will include Jane Fonda and California First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom, according to The New York Times.

Other chapters have canceled their marches due to controversy, including in New Orleans and in Washington state.

First published on January 19, 2019


Grace Segers
Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Our Magazine
Read the Premiere Issue for free and become a member to receive all issues digital & print!

January – February premiere issue

Read now!

Access all Lead Up for Women Magazine Issues

Subscribe to our Newsletter!