Women’s Wave RI holds 4th annual event on the State House lawn
By: Steve Ahlquist
Nearly 400 people gathered on the south steps of the Rhode Island State House on Saturday in conjunction with protests taking place across the nation and in Washington DC to call for new leadership in Washington DC and for an end to the TrumpAdministration. The message in Rhode Island, delivered from 16 speakers including activists, elected officials and candidates for office, was more about local politics than national, drawing stark comparisons between government as usual under the leadership of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) and the federal government under President Donald Trump.
The Rhode Island Womxn’s Action Initiative (RIWAI) organized their event in conjunction with national and international Women’s March on Washington (WMW) chapters to “amplify the urgency of the 2020 elections, to flood the streets in numbers too big to ignore, and to engage as many voters as possible” to reach record numbers of voters in November’s presidential election in order to flip the Senate and elect a Democratic President.
The RIWAI was formed in the aftermath of the Rhode Island chapter of Women’s March on Washington’s disaffiliation from the national organization in May of 2018. The organizers were responding to “multiple, ongoing concerns with MWM including their lack of accountability for anti-Jewish sentiment within their ranks, a hierarchical model that did not reflect or respond to local chapter needs, and a lack of transparency with regards to the [national] leadership structure.”
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Over the past year, National WMW has taken steps to address these issues. Three of the original co-Presidents have stepped down, and a new board of directors was appointed after an open call and nomination process. The new board better represents the intersectional values and mission that many critics hoped to see within WMW.
RIWAI has had no formal discussions nor made any decisions regarding a re-affiliation, but many RIWAU organizers “believe that these changes reflect the kind of response that we hope to see when we call one another in for harmful actions.”