The Women’s March announced that it has elected new members to its board of directors. They’re in a transition period now that three of the founding board members are stepping down. The process was already underway in July, but now the collective has released official information.
The Washington Post first reported that co-Chairs Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour cut ties with the group before amending that narrative to say those three founding Women’s March members were replaced. However, neither of those narratives appeared to be completely true.
NewsOne obtained a copy of the Women’s March by-laws, which show that Bland, Mallory and Sarsour were serving two-year terms. Since those terms expired, new members were elected. The founding four members still maintain a presence on the board no matter what, with each of them serving on a rotating basis. That means that the Women’s March didn’t cut ties with anybody, and that’s why Carmen Perez, a co-chair who is also one of the four founders, was still sitting on the board. She was serving on that rotating basis.
The mainstream reporting on the development carried the heavy, and negative, inference that Mallory, in particular, was removed from the group because of the accusations of anti-Semitism that have followed her in recent months. There have also been other reports of infighting and financial mismanagement, but neither of those unproven factors seemed to play a role in this case.
The new diverse group of 16 new Women’s March board members include a Jewish woman, a former legislator, a transgender woman, two religious leaders and a member of the Oglala tribe of the Lakota nation.
Calls for Mallory and her fellow co-chairs to resign reached a high point ahead of the 2019 Women’s March on Washington, which brought in thousands of women from around the country in January. A lot of the controversy came from an incident when Mallory went to a Nation of Islam event where Louis Farrakhan made inflammatory statements about Jewish people. The Women’s March tried to assuage the outrage by reaching out to the Jewish community and denouncing anti-Semitism. However, the leaders refused to denounce Farrakhan.
In announcing the news, the Women’s March said it would transition “onto other projects focused on advocacy within their respective organizations.”
Sarsour released her own statement calling the new Women’s March board “AMAZING” and said she will continue to get folks to the polls for the 2020 presidential election.
“I am grateful to the women who stepped up to shepherd the Women’s March,” she wrote. “This is what women supporting women looks like.”
Bland also said that the transition process was planned over time. The new board members were selected by a nominating committee. Several of them acknowledged that the organization has made “mistakes and missteps” however they’re committed to the cause. One of their top priorities for the near future is getting Donald Trump out of office.
“The priority for me is really dealing with the very serious consequences of what the president and his administration is doing and causing,” said new board member Lucy Flores. “Once we’re in the general [election], the number one priority will be to defeat Trump, and we will do whatever it takes.”
You can check out the full list of the new board members here.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Tamika Mallory’s existing relationship with the Women’s March. The headline and text have been updated to reflect the corrected information.