As protesters descended upon Washington, D.C. streets with posters, sign-baring capes and feminist pins in tow, a diverse group of young women and men began their march to the mall at Metropolitan AME, where the National Youth and College division of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hosted the People’s Inauguration.
Conscious of the need to mobilize millennials, Saturday’s event was the “launch of a new era of activism and stand against threats to voting, civil rights, education and more under the new administration,” according to the NAACP.
The roster of participants included recording artist Jidenna, NAACP President & CEO Cornell William Brooks, NAACP National Youth and College Director Stephen A. Green, and CNN political correspondent and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, Symone D. Sanders.
“We are here today to gather millennials of color and collectively with the women’s march, (show) a day of solidarity across the country and a day of resistance to assert that we’re stronger together than we are apart,” said Stephen A. Green, national youth and college director of the NAACP.
Dubbed “Stay Woke and Fight,” the day kicked off with worship and praise led by Howard University’s gospel choir, including a resilient delivery of the national Black anthem, and was followed by prayer and a welcome from Bethune Cookman Student Government Association President Jacari Harris. Green and Jidenna hosted a panel discussion, moderated by Sanders, which focused on the importance of proactive social justice and outlining what an effective agenda looks like. The loose agenda described included empowering leaders at all levels to implement local and federal legislative changes, particularly against legislation that disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income populations.
As the session wrapped, we spoke with Sanders about her participation in and opinion of the Women’s March on Washington.
“We’ve got to do the work on the local level. At the local level, women’s organizations have to be about the business of intersectionality, and it’s going to make some people feel uncomfortable,” said Sanders. “We have to be willing to have the hard conversations and be intentional. Be intentional about putting women of color on your board. Be intentional about not just inviting women of color to speak, (but also) involving women of color in (the event) planning,” she added.
Sanders also noted that women of color have to be willing to show up.