AN OPEN LETTER TO ALYSSA MILANO AND THERESSA SHOOK
November 20, 2018
In 2017, the Women’s March was a movement sparked by white women and organized by women of color. The names Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland were names known in communities of color well before the Women’s March took place. Historically, women of color were used as tools to support the efforts of white women. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was a slap in the face to Black women. We marched with you, we stood with you, we put our lives on the line for you and you threw us away when you felt we were no longer useful to you. After reviewing the actress Alyssa Milano’s recent statements denouncing the leaders, it is clear that history repeats itself. Alyssa, these women are not your enemy. The 52 percent of white women that voted for Donald Trump, and woke up on January 21, 2017, and marched beside you are your enemy. As a Black woman, it hurts me to see the recent headlines regarding this movement. While you may think you’re helping, you are tearing a movement that was built on unity apart. This is not the time to strengthen the wedge between white women and people of color.
The Women’s March was supposed to be an organization that brought women who shared different beliefs and comes from different backgrounds together for women equality in our country. However, we’ve now become sidetracked. How convenient for you that this would take place just months away from the 2nd anniversary of the Women’s March. What gain will women get seeing these headlines on Sean Hannity or The New York Post? I am writing this open letter to Alyssa Milano, Theressa Shook and any other white woman that will listen to say, “our voices are not monolithic, and nor should they be. We must move in spaces to unite all women, and we will not stand idle as your disparage the names of women of color.”
“You can’t dump one cup of sugar into the ocean and expect to get syrup. If everybody sweetened her own cup of water, then things would begin to change.” –Florynce Kennedy
In a recent post, Shook wrote: “In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.” Ms. Shook, I ask where was your national outcry to denounce the 52 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump, the 63 percent of white women that voted for Roy Moore, the 53 percent of women that in 2008 voted for politicians that supported anti-choice politicians. Why is it that white women have consistently shown us they will choose the white guy no matter his view on LGBT rights and Equal Rights? It is painfully clear that white women have always voted and worked to maintain their position, but what about me?
My opinion, my voice and my labor in this space towards gender equality matters. You cannot single-handedly decide when a movement of free-thinking diverse women throw’s its leadership away. We’ve allowed you to ignore our voices for too long. At the beginning of the 19th century despite their contribution to white women’s liberation. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton proudly expressed that Black Liberation could not take priority to their personal interests as white women. It clear that privilege continues to prevail in the ‘Feminist’ movement today. Who gave you the right to decide who can or cannot represent women? I think over this holiday season, you should reflect on the privilege that you hold and the movement that you are weakening.
Mary-Pat Hector, indeed a Black woman