The Beginning of The Women’s March
WomenWerk got the inside scoop on the historic Women’s March from its Operations Lead, Nantasha Williams. This story was originally published on the WomenWerk Blog
My name is Nantasha Williams and I am passionate about organizing at the intersection of government, politics, and social activism. I have had numerous positions in state government, and also ran for the New York State Assembly a few years ago. After losing my primary last September, and after the depressing outcome of the November general election, I was searching for a positive and proactive outlet to channel my frustrations. I remember seeing Tamika Mallory one of the co-chairs of Women’s March post something on Facebook about a March. Tamika Mallory also happens to be my mentor and as a mentee I’d often ask her if she needed assistance on any of her various projects. I reached out to Tamika immediately and inquired further about her post and asked if she needed my help, and her reply was “yes, I really need your help”. I didn’t know much about the March or how it came about beforehand, but after volunteering to assist I was quickly brought up to speed. Women’s March was started by a grandmother in Hawaii named Theresa Shook.
When Theresa woke up the next day she had thousands of repost and comments, and her post was widely shared with numerous groups, the internet was buzzing about a women’s march on Washington. One of these facebook groups was Pants Suit Nation. A women named Bob Bland intelligently merged all the comments, and groups together and become one of the key originators of the march. Around the same time Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez was asked to help organize the March and put some structure around it. Prior to the Women’s March this awesome trifecta had led a 250mile march from New York City to DC called the March for Justice and were critical pieces to operationalizing the march and taking it from Facebook to the streets of DC.
My role in organizing the March was primarily to be Tamika’s right and left hand and assist in whatever task as needed. I was also solely responsible for all travel, ground travel, and lodging for everybody involved with Women’s March which totaled over 50 people, I played an integral role in logistics, and college mobilization.
Leading up to the March was hectic but I never would have imagined how the day of the March would go. It was hectic and non-stop, but it was beautiful, motivating, and inspiring at the same time. To see that many people, mostly women show up to resist the incoming administration, bigotry, and hatred was amazing and something I will cherish forever. The march become one of the biggest marches in U.S. History and globally with a sister march taking place on every continent of the world. The March grew in popularity largely because of the environment and the intense emotions during election season and the general election results. However, the Women’s March team is comprised of the most smartest and talented people and the promotion of Women’s March can also be credited to the work of the National team and State organizers on the ground a true grassroots and grass tops effort. Since the march, Women’s March has become an organization going by the name Women’s March Inc. our platform is still the same, and we will continue to provide a platform for women and their communities’ to uplift their voices. We center our activities around our unity principles which is a bold intersectional agenda seeking to address the issue of violence, reproductive rights, LGTBQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.
I am currently heading up our political engagement strategy that seeks to effectuate change under three pillars advocacy, education, and elections. Our next big project is the Women’s March Convention in Detroit which will be held October 27–29. During the convention we will tap into the power of women in leadership as the fundamental, grassroots force for change, the Women’s Convention will bring together first time activists and movement leaders, rising political stars that reflect our nation’s changing demographics, and thousands of women who’ve organized sister marches, huddles, rallies and resistance actions, large and small, since January 2017. Participants will leave inspired and motivated, with new connections, skills and strategies for working towards collective liberation for women of all races, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, sexual identities, gender expressions, immigration statuses, religious faiths, and economic statuses.
For more information on The Women’s March movement or to attend our first conference in Detroit this October, visit WomensConvention.com. For more information about me you can check out my site nantashawilliams.com.