The local iteration of the national Women's March on Washington will not take place this year, at least according to a group of organizers who have been heading up planning for the Cincinnati event's third year.
Organizers writing on the Women's March on Washington — Ohio Chapter's Facebook page cited funding and logistics difficulties as reasons for the cancellation of the scheduled Jan. 19 event.
"We have worked diligently... to bring to fruition our vision of an inclusive and diverse march that centers the experiences of women and femmes," the Facebook post reads. "Unfortunately, we ran into several barriers that prevented that vision from being actualized in 2019. We were unable to confirm a location or secure event insurance. We understand the frustration and perhaps anger this may cause many, but we hope that deep commitment to the ideals of the Women’s March can fuel an even stronger coalition of progressive women and femmes to make our march in 2020 — election year — bigger and better than ever."
Last year, the local iteration of the Women's March drew thousands downtown to a space outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. But there was also contention from some activist groups, who felt the local organizers put too much emphasis on voting and promoting the Democratic Party over concerns about deeper issues around racial and economic justice. A coalition of activist groups including Cincinnati Black Lives Matter (now called Mass Action for Black Liberation) regional representatives from the American Indian Movement and others led a well-attended alternative event later in the day.
Since then, controversy has arisen around the national Women's March on Washington, with reports alleging racism, anti-Semitism and co-option of the event by a few well-connected organizers.
Though new organizers took the helm of the local event this year, Cincinnati's Women's March has also seen tensions.
In December, local activists with a group called Young Activists Coalition announced they would not be participating in planning the march due to questions around diversity.
"On the national and state level, the Women’s March organization has failed to directly address specific concerns about anti-semitism among the national leadership," a Dec. 22 post by YAC read. The group was formerly called the Young Feminists Coalition and included high school and college students advocating on issues like gun control. "Members of the Greater Cincinnati community have been asking questions about both issues. YAC acknowledges that OWM has expressed reservations about YAC’s commitment to inclusivity and hopes that OWM will be willing to continue the dialogue so all concerns can be addressed."
The remaining Cincinnati march organizers also spoke about questions around inclusivity.
"Our core group of organizers are three very passionate Black women committed to ensuring that the voices and experiences of women and femmes of color are always a part of any movement targeting women," the group said in its post today. "...This process had made even more clear to us how divided our community here in Cincinnati is. With the issues around the exclusion of women of color in the past two Cincinnati marches to the concerns about antisemitism on the national level, many women and femmes are experiencing hurt, anger and distrust of one another. Over the course of the next year we hope to provide opportunities to explore those sentiments, to learn from each other and to hopefully bridge the divide."
Activist group Cincinnati Socialist Alternative will hold an event at Sawyer Point Jan.19 at 11 a.m. for those still wanting to march. It's unclear if other activist groups will also hold marches or other events for the day.
Marches will still take place that day in many other cities, including Cleveland and Columbus, though other cities, including Chicago, have also seen their marches canceled. The main march through Washington, D.C. is also still moving forward.
The entire post announcing the cancellation is below: