One of the most powerful speeches at Saturday’s massive Women’s March on Washington was delivered by co-organizer of the march Linda Sarsour, a Muslim Palestinian-American who has been a rising star in advocacy for the rights of women of color.
Declaring herself an “unapologetically” Muslim-American, Palestinian-American and a U.S. citizen from Brooklyn, New York, Sarsour said, “Sisters and brothers, you are what democracy looks like, sisters and brothers, you are my hope for my community.”
She went on to say that while she respects the office of the president of the country, she had no respect for President Donald Trump.
“I will not accept an administration that won an election on the backs of Muslims and Black people and undocumented people and Mexicans and people with disabilities and on the backs of women,” the executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York and founder and CEO of MPower Change, said to cheers from the crowd.
Women activists, outraged by Trump's campaign rhetoric and behavior they found to be especially misogynistic, spearheaded scores of marches in the U.S. and around the world just a day after his inauguration drawing almost 5 million protesters in all, far surpassing crowd expectations.
Sarsour went on to highlight the plight of Muslim Americans under both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “Many of our communities, including the Muslim community, have been suffering in silence for the past 15 years under the Bush administration and the Obama administration.”
She said that most of the things that Trump has suggested and promised to do to her community, such as an entry ban and a national registry for Muslims, have already been around for the past 15 years.
She then issued a call for unity across the marginalized and oppressed communities in the country. “Sisters and brothers if you have come here today as your first time at a march, I welcome you and I ask you to stand and continue to keep your voice loud for Black women, for native women, for undocumented women, for LGBTQ communities, for people with disabilities.”
Speaking at a stage in Washington just miles away from the White House, she stressed that the women and the people who joined the march were “the conscious of these United States of America. We are this nation’s moral compass.”
And for those who wish to bring about change and achieve justice, Sarsour argued that they must follow “women of color sisters and brothers. We know where we need to go and we know where justice is because when we fight for justice we fight for it for all people, for all our communities.”
As her family and children stood right behind her while she made history, the Muslim activist reminded the masses that “ordinary people made this happen,” referring to the Women’s March, “not cooperate dollars, no money from corporations. These are your dollars, this your work. You made this happen.”