Women's March this week comes amid controversy, with some partners now off list

Image: People gather for the Women's March in Washington, DC, Jan. 21, 2017
People gather for the Women's March in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017. Copyright Shannon Stapleton Reuters file
By Daniella Silva and Alex Seitz-Wald with NBC News U.S. News
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Several prominent civil and women's rights groups are absent from the list of partners of the third Women's March in Washington on Saturday.


Several prominent civil and women's rights groups were absent from the list of partners for the third Women's March in Washington as claims of anti-Semitism have rocked the leadership of the national group.

Neither the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, nor Emily's List, a political action committee dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, are on the list of sponsors or partners for the 2019 march to be held Saturday. Both groups were on the march's 2017 partners list.

An Emily's List representative told NBC News, "We've partnered with many different groups and are constantly reviewing how best to spend resources in ways that will most directly help us reach our ultimate goal of electing more pro-choice Democratic women."

"We decided our resources were best spent hosting a training for women coming into D.C. with the Women's March, rather than a sponsorship of the March itself. Additionally, we did not sponsor last year's March," the official said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center did not immediately respond to request for comment but told the Daily Beast that "other projects were a priority." The organization said it would continue to be involved in local-level marches in places where it has offices.

Some other groups that have partnered with the march in the past, including the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Service Employees International Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign and more are also not on this year's list.

The Democratic National Committee had appeared on the 2019 Women's March website as a partner, but has since been removed. A DNC official declined to comment on why the committee was ever listed as a sponsor, saying that the DNC has not sponsored previous marches.


"The DNC stands in solidarity with all those fighting for women's rights and holding the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers across the country accountable," DNC Deputy Communications Director Sabrina Singh said in a statement. "Women are on the front lines of fighting back against this administration and are the core of our Democratic Party."

The DNC did not appear on the 2017 partners list.

The Women's March did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Meanwhile, prominent women's health organization Planned Parenthood stood by its decision to sponsor the march in a post on Medium Monday.

"Planned Parenthood Action Fund is once again proudly joining our numerous progressive partners for the #WomensWave mobilization to protect and advance the progress we've made as a movement," wrote Angela Ferrell-Zabala, the national director of strategic partnerships at action fund.

"But we know our work fighting for equity and justice for all people cannot happen if we don't face difficult conversations within our community head on," Ferrell-Zabala wrote.

Recent claims of anti-Semitism against some leaders of Women's March Inc. have roiled the movement, with two of the leaders being accused of saying at a private organizing meeting that Jews bore a particular responsibility for the oppression of people of color, The New York Times andTablet magazine reported — claims both leaders have denied.

These allegations came to light after march Co-President Tamika Mallory was criticized for attending an event last year hosted by Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has been denounced for making anti-Semitic and homophobic comments.


Planned Parenthood said in its post that it reaffirmed there was no place for any kind of bigotry in its communities and that Farrakhan's comments stood in opposition to "our commitment to equity and justice."


The organization said it was encouraged by Women's March's "unequivocal rejection of bigotry in all its forms" in subsequent statements.

"After these necessary and sometimes difficult discussions, we are confident that the values of the Women's March, as they are now clearly stated, are aligned with the values of Planned Parenthood," Ferrell-Zabala wrote.

Mallory said Monday on ABC's "The View she did not agree with "many of Minister Farrakhan's statements."

She did not go as far as to "condemn" Farrakhan's statements when asked, saying, "It's not my language, it's not the way that I speak, it's not how I organize ... I should never be judged through the lens of a man."

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