Porter Challenges The Women’s March

Gary Winfield PhotoNew Haven State Rep. Robyn Porter didn’t play to the crowd at Saturday’s Women’s March in Hartford. She instead challenged the crowd — to examine its own actions toward black women along with Donald Trump’s actions.

Porter delivered her passionate remarks before 10,000 people outside the state Capitol, at one of the marches nationwide a year after the first Women’s March brought millions to the streets to seek to launch a feminist counter-movement to the policies of Trump and the Republican Party. (Click here for a full report on the rally by Doug Hardy.)

Porter told the crowd that many black women like herself have felt excluded by those largely white events. She folded that into a broader critique of how liberal white women have built a movement on the groundwork laid by black women and then proceeded to downplay the most important issues facing black women in America, from voting rights to deadly police brutality and gang violence.

The crowd responded to Porter’s remarks with cheers and applause and, when Porter finished, chants of “Black lives matter!”

You can watch her deliver the remarks beginning just before the 45-minute mark point in Facebook Live video shot by blogger Al Robinson and posted below.

The text of Porter’s remarks follows.

“Pushed Aside, Counted Out”

 

Well, hello Hartford! Woooo! My God! My God! This is more than a full house.

They said they weren’t expecting a crowd but I was. And I have to tell you when I was asked to speak at the march today, I must admit I was conflicted.

It was a thorny subject for me. And when I look out into the crowd – this massive crowd, I am reminded of one of the things I thought about. And that was what I had heard many of my black and brown sisters express about the Women’s March, and how they felt that it was a Women’s March that had left them out and that they wanted nothing to do with it.

I felt like I could relate but I needed to listen a little more. And then they went on and they asked me things like: Why haven’t we been asked to participate in something? Why haven’t we been able to come to the table and help in planning the menu? Why don’t we have any input? Why aren’t our voices being summoned? Especially since this movement and so many others were birthed out of the bowels of black women.

And then it dawned on me and I thought to myself and I had to say, We have been at the table planning the menu. Heck, the table was set by us for us, and when we led, white women didn’t show up for us.

This is part of the reason why they told me they wouldn’t be here today. Because frankly, they were sick and tired – sick and tired of what they felt were white women hijacking their history and work and discounting their worth.

See, for far too long black women have been held back, pushed aside, and counted out – hidden figures kept in the dark and only to be brought out for validation and clout.

Nevertheless, I had a decision to make, and it wasn’t done in a split second. I had to pray on it. In a nutshell, this is what I got back was this: Nobody can speak for your experience, so it is crucial that people that look like you and have experiences like you not only have access to power but that they also have access to the mic.

So, here I am – to speak to you all today on behalf of the black women who feel left out and left behind –-  black women whose voices have not been heard and whose issues have not garnered white women’s staunch support. Issues that mainstream women’s rights movements often dismiss –  the issues affecting black women, like, maternal mortality, infant mortality, police brutality, mass incarceration, the War on Drugs aka the War on Black People, gang violence, unemployment, education, voting rights. The AIDS epidemic because it is still an epidemic in communities of color. And the heroin epidemic: Yes, the epidemic has seeped into communities of color and heroin overdose rates have more than doubled —  said doubled — among Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans, and the media isn’t talking about that.

“Time For A Reckoning”

Doug Hardy PhotoSee, for us, the denial of our people and our plights is déjà vu, it’s nothing new. And it’s time for a reckoning and a change.

Leslie Mac said it best when she said, “This movement needs a wake-up call. When organizing is measured in actions and attendance and success is tallied in crowd size, how can black women ever be free? How long can we continue to be the backbone of this movement and its whipping post? How long can we endure our own pain being ignored? This situation is untenable. It is time to clear the air and start over.”

And I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree with her. It is time.

It is time for white women to start showing up and showing out on the issues that impact black and brown women’s lives – like the death of Jayson Negron. When’s the last time you said his name? Why? Because Black Lives Matter. And believe it or not that is the one movement we would love for you all to hijack, especially since we have stood in solidarity with you all on every issue under the sun – bar none.

Yes, it is time. White women must use their privilege in this movement to demand justice for the causes of the women whose very shoulders they have consistently stood on over the centuries.

Some names were called today: Fannie Lou Hamer, Sojourner Truth. I mean this has been a movement in our communities for a very long time. Since the 1800s, until now, black women have been at the forefront of many movements to make their lives and the lives of others more equitable and less marginalized –  with or without the recognition. Today, I say we recognize and make room for black women and their issues in this movement. And that we make sure that black and brown women do not feel left out, that they do not feel like they have been left behind and discounted and that they are expendable and that the issues in their communities are second fiddle.

Because we must be included.

So, I want to know: Are you with us? I want to know, Can we start over and clear the air?

I sure hope so, because it’s the only way we’re going to win.

We are going to have to work together  –  in spirit and in truth. Together. In unity and in love. Agape love.

Because that’s what it’s going to take to make America great for once, and for all!  Submitted in love.

Thank you and God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Doug Hardy Photo

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posted by: New Haven Nuisance on January 21, 2018  11:32am

Run Robyn Run!
(for governor)

posted by: robn on January 21, 2018  1:43pm

If you want to feel included Robyn, show up. And I don’t just mean the march in DC. African American voter turnout for the 2016 election dropped to 59.6% from 66.6% in 2016. Your vote means something even when the candidate doesn’t share your complexion.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 21, 2018  5:38pm

posted by: robn on January 21, 2018 1:43pm

If you want to feel included Robyn, show up. And I don’t just mean the march in DC. African American voter turnout for the 2016 election dropped to 59.6% from 66.6% in 2016. Your vote means something even when the candidate doesn’t share your complexion.

The reason why the election dropped is that we black folks are starting to wake up to what Brother MALCOLM X said.

You give white politicians all of your support, and get nothing in return. You put the Democrats first, and they put you last——-MALCOLM X (from his speech called, the Ballot or the Bullet)

The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way. The liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor, and by winning the friendship and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political football game. Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football, and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball. Through tricks of tokenism and false promises, and they have the willing cooperation of Negro leaders. These leaders sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains——-MALCOLM X ( from his speech called, God’s Judgment of White America)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 21, 2018  6:12pm

“It was a thorny subject for me,” Porter said, adding that many of her “black and brown sisters felt that it was a women’s march that had left them out, and they wanted nothing to do with it.”“They asked me things like ‘Why haven’t we been asked to participate in something?” Porter said. “Why haven’t we been able to come to the table and help in planning the menu? Why don’t we have any input? Why aren’t our voices being summoned?”Especially, she said, since this movement and so many others were “birthed” by black women.

And the above is the reason why people of color mustget off the Democratic and Republican Party Plantation and form there own party.When we have our own political party.We can have our own voting bloc and we can go to either party and cut deals that you will only receive our votes if we receive what we demand not ask but demand. When you have a voting bloc you are no longer asking or begging for things but demanding. Case and point.You only have to look at what a few million Cuban people have done with their voting bloc that they gave to the Republican party in Florida. The Cuban People control South Florida. There was even at one time a Puerto Rican Nationalist Party led by the Puerto Rican Malcolm X Don Pedro Albizu Campos.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Rican_Nationalist_Party

Even Fannie Lou Hamer along with Ella Baker, and Robert Parris Moses, FormThe Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to challenge the legitimacy of the regular Mississippi Democratic Party, which allowed participation only by whites, when African Americans made up 40% of the state population.

My bad. I saw the the picture of Trump.But you should also have one of Dan Malloy.Look at how his policies have hurt poor and working class people and it was Black and latino politicians who supported him.

posted by: denny says on January 21, 2018  10:51pm

Why do some people have to inject race into every issue?

posted by: Lucy Gellman on January 22, 2018  12:06am

@robn women of color propelled Doug Jones to victory, showed up for Hillary Clinton, and built centuries of the feminist movement before being written out of its history. Their backs have been the bridges across which white feminists have sauntered without a word of thanks or acknowledgement. If you want to complain about the 2016 election I suggest taking the issue up with the majority white 42% of women who voted for Donald Trump.

posted by: Peter99 on January 22, 2018  7:05am

THREEFIFTHS, you are blinded by a perspective on politics which is race based. When is the last time any politician; black, brown white or blue with pink polka dots did anything to substantially change our lives for the better? When is the last time that any church leader did anything to substantially change our lives for the better? They do not care once about any of us once they have positions of power in the community. They allow a few crumbs to fall off the table, and the herd thinks they are eating at the table. You, I, and others are too few in numbers and organization to change anything in thus system. It makes me feel better to at least reduce my thoughts to writing. I suspect it is the same for you. We are the little people who know the story, but cannot change the ending of the story. The Judas goat has many colors and comes from many institutions. They have managed and divided the masses along racial, cultural and religious lines very well. As long as we allow them to continue to divide us, the will keep us in check, and themselves in power. It is unfortunate that the population comprising the herd is either not interested in change, too busy with their lives or intellectually challenge to the point where they can not understand that they are being managed and led.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 22, 2018  7:38am

I’m curious about one line in Rep. Porter’s powerful and necessary speech. She quotes Leslie Mac “when organizing is measured in actions and attendance and success is tallied in crowd size, how can black women ever be free.”  Clearly, these are not the only measures of a movement’s legitimacy or effectiveness; others, notably inclusiveness, are very important. But metrics such as crowd size matter. If the protesters at the Capitol had been racially diverse, but there were only ten protestors, how much impact would the protest have had?

Robn, African American voter turnout spiked for the Obama elections (I suspect Irish-American turnout spiked for JFK’s election). But in 2016, African-American turnout was more than 10 percentage points higher than the rates for Hispanic and Asian-American citizens, according to the Pew Research Center. Low turnout is a real problem, but not one limited to African Americans.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 22, 2018  8:30am

posted by: Peter99 on January 22, 2018 7:05am

THREEFIFTHS, you are blinded by a perspective on politics which is race based. When is the last time any politician; black, brown white or blue with pink polka dots did anything to substantially change our lives for the better?

Check these out.

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. who was also a Baptist Pastor

Hiram Revels, the first Black Congressman in the United States.He was also a Black Educator, and Minister,

Shirley Chisholm the first black woman elected to the United States Congress

And there are many more.

The problem now is that those in office are not follwing the blue print of the above people.

THREEFIFTHS, you are blinded by a perspective on politics which is race based.

My eyes are 20/20 when it comes to the perspective on politics.Politics is race based.This is why I said And the above is the reason why people of color must get off the Democratic and Republican Party Plantation and form there own party.When we have our own political party.In fact The co-founder and Chairman of the Black Panther Party Bobby Seale wrote a book in the sixties titled, Seize The Time! That saying is most appropriate for the time that we are living in now.The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey once said, “When all else fails to organize the people, conditions will.Malcolm X said.The political philosophy of black nationalism only means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. And we control that by forming our own political party.

We are the little people who know the story, but cannot change the ending of the story.

We can change the story.We start with the believers and the rest will come.In fact more young people are waking up.

If you stop struggling, then you stop life.

Huey P. Newton

posted by: Inside 165 on January 22, 2018  12:01pm

Porter speech was great particularly for one reason. She highlights everything that is wrong with black folks in positions that could be meaningful. She asked at the rally when’s the last time the (white) woman there talked about Jason Negron or something like that. Well Robyn when’s the last time the female black community took some substantive action on Jason Negron?  Not lately. I know you hitched your wagon to that young man who was driving a stolen car and allegedly tried to run over Bridgeport cops getting shot but don’t blame the white girls because the majority our community doesn’t really give a shit about it either. Redirecting your disappointment because your unconstitutional legislation to deny police officers due process didn’t pass?
There is also many shoulders that people have opportunities to stand on. Some of our sisters and some white women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. What is amazing to me is that Rep. Porter wants to criticize the white woman taking a stand on certain issues.  How about criticizing our sisters for not. I know Robyn. All those white girls got that privilege. That one that lets them drive a car or take a bus up to Hartford. That privilege that lets them stand outside the state capital with signs. That privilege that lets them vote. Damn I wish we were allowed to have that too.(sarcasm intended).
What’s even more ironic is these comments come from a black woman who was speaking there.  How many of our sisters from our city did you see or go with Robyn.  Let’s start with the obvious. Mayor Harp, Alders Walker, Morrison et al.  Did you tell the ones who said they weren’t that you would cover them on it?
You see Robyn you really don’t care or you would be calling out the people who didn’t show instead of making excuses for them. My guess is this is your failed attempt to build a base for you for bigger political ambitions.
Your an anchor instead of a sail.
I’ll say it again.
The soft bigotry of low expectations!

posted by: Noteworthy on January 22, 2018  12:18pm

Spot on Inside. Spot freaking on .

posted by: JCFremont on January 22, 2018  1:47pm

The more the word Unite is used the more rallies become more segregated. You know until Elijah Muhammad branded them all whitey there was a lot of “diversify” in the “white community” should we go through the lexicon of derogatory terms to point that out?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 22, 2018  3:30pm

posted by: Inside 165 on January 22, 2018 12:01pm

There is also many shoulders that people have opportunities to stand on. Some of our sisters and some white women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton  

 

But Susan B. Anthony,was a racist.It was Susan B. Anthony, who stated, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.”  Elizabeth Cady Stanton was also a racist.She said We educated, virtuous white women are more worthy of the vote.’ ... She talked about how much worse black men would be as voters than the white women about whom she was concerned, and she was really quite dismissive of black women’s claims. ... There were some comments about, ‘What will we and our daughters suffer if these degraded black men are allowed to have the rights that would make them even worse than our Saxon fathers?’

As you said.The soft bigotry of low expectations!

posted by: Inside 165 on January 22, 2018  6:52pm

@threefifths

I don’t disagree but that was a point of historical reference not my actual point.  The broader point that I am making is you look like a fool when you say to one group of people that you need to be talking about all these other issues, gang violence, infant mortality, etc. because those things directly impact not you but woman of color, who didn’t bother showing up.

Furthermore let’s be realistic. The woman’s march last year and now was born out of a broader issue not specific ones as mentioned. They’ve affected our community for years. Where have our sisters been? You don’t need to wait for someone white to ring the bell before you put your fists in the air. Why hasn’t powerful woman like Oprah been a standard bearer for these issues?  Oh that’s right we were waiting for the guilford girls lead our charge.

We got over 1,000,000 men of color to DC not to long ago and your telling me black women need to be held by the hand by white women to have their voice be heard. We’re in big trouble if that’s what we’ve accepted.

The low expectations are ours.