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Women’s March Done Wrong

When I think about the Women’s March in 2017, it makes me emotional. I decided to go because I wanted to do something after the disorientating election of Trump. I went with friends, not anticipating how huge, historic and amazing the march would be.

I didn’t attend the second or third year because I felt the purpose behind what the march represented became sort of vague. But I do give credit to the Women's march organization because I believe that the wave of women elected in 2018 was a result of that first event. It not only woke us all up, it re-energized and inspired us.

I also didn’t attend the march this year, partly because I was out of town, even though I could have attended a march in the city I was visiting. But, had I been home, I had no intention of joining this year’s march because they excluded Black Lives Matter Los Angeles from their event. They refused to respond to Black Lives Matter's emails requesting inclusion for this year’s event, refused speaking time and generally refused an invite even though it was requested. This was the first time Black Lives Matter Los Angeles did not participate in this movement.

This blog has consistently published stories on the plight of black women and high rates of maternal mortality, racial disparities in healthcare, the economy, the pay gap, and so on. If advocating for black women’s lives are not part of the agenda, which Black Lives Matters consistently makes a priority, then I refuse to be a part of whatever the Women’s March is trying to do. 

With all of that said, there is a story regarding the Women’s March that I haven’t been able to get away from.

It was reported that the National Archives doctored four photos from the Women’s March in 2017, one that was aggressively critical of Trump. Initially, the country’s record keeper, stood by their decision to edit the photo. But as this story was published on the heels of the this year’s march, they backtracked and apologized, admitting they made a mistake.

Their excuse for altering the image was “so as to not engage in current political controversy.” But by editing the images, they created the controversy they were trying to avoid, additionally creating outrage and distrust. Archives spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said, “Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.” 

Again, this move on their part only kept the focus off the records and made people question how accurate their record keeping is. While the Women’s March has unfortunately become a bitter cup of tea for me personally, I don’t believe images from that event should be altered, doctored or whatever you want to call it. Those signs are powerful and being able to assemble and express ourselves feels like some of the only rights we have left. All speech is anything but savory, but we still have a right to express them and not have them censored.