Latinas Are Playing a Major Role in the Women’s March on Washington

Latinas Are Playing a Major Role in the Women’s March on Washington

The day following Donald Trump's inauguration, an estimated 200,000 people will take to the streets to join the Women's March on Washington, a demonstration that aims to be inclusive of the various issues and identities under threat during Trump’s quickly approaching presidency. It’s no surprise then that Latinas, who have been on the receiving end of several of the president-elect’s attacks, can be found throughout this movement, from the march’s national committee and its celebrity ambassadors to its coordinators and the everyday protestors who will set out to Washington, D.C. to use their voice for change.

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“This march is not an anti-Trump march. We are marching for something: for human rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights,” Carmen Perez, a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington and the executive director of The Gathering for Justice, a New York-based juvenile justice organization, tells us. “We are being intentional about being inclusive. We have to attack all the forces of evil. This is about our country; it’s about racism and fascism.”

The Chicana, along with her co-chairs – three of four of them women of color – has  worked to create a demonstration that is intersectional. Last week, the organizers released a four-page policy platform that laid out its mission, and it was clear on centering the most marginalized.

“Our liberation is bound in each other’s,” reads the document. “… We must create a society in which women, in particular women ― in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women ― are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.”

Latinas, like other women, are not one-dimensional humans. As Perez tell us, when we walk out of our homes, we are burdened by the reality of gender pay gaps, poverty, incarceration and/or immigration.

“Our families are at stake,” Paola Mendoza, a Colombia-born filmmaker and the march's artistic director, said. “During his campaign, Trump said he’s creating the deportation force. Now he says 3 million immigrants will go. To me, that means our families and our children are at stake. Our homes will be ripped apart, children left without parents.”

That’s a devastating reality that actress-activist Diane Guerrero, who will be attending the march, knows personally. When the Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin star was a teenager, she came home to her biggest fear: an empty home. Disconnected from her family and forgotten by the U.S. government, Guerrero had to navigate her life – and the struggles that come with being a woman, Latinx and a child of immigrants – alone.

“My fight is strong for the immigrant community. I’m scared for undocumented folks and DACA recipients, for students in college who really thought they had a chance to find work and change the world, but I’m walking for other issues, too: climate change, health care, disability, ” she told us.

On Saturday, she, alongside her co-star Jackie Cruz, will protest with and for women, of all walks of life and with various concerns going into the next four years.

“I don’t think Trump will get anything from this, and that’s OK because it’s not for him, conservatives or people who are racist. It’s for people who care about our cause, for equality and justice for all, for communities who think they don’t have a voice, communities who think they can’t do anything. This march shows them we have their mindset; we have a heart,” Guerrero said.

For Mendoza, the Women’s March on Washington is not just about the next four years but also those that follow. While the time ahead may be dim and while our communities will face losses, she says that the resistance that will take place on Saturday will prepare us for a “grand slam” in the long run.

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