The Black Women’s March held its first official event in June.
Caroline Gombe, 40, is one of the founders of the New York Black Women’s March. Gombe attended the George Floyd protests in New York a few days after they started, and she felt that the “walking and chanting” had a healing effect on her.
While helping out by distributing water to fellow protestors, handing out masks, and dispensing hand sanitizer, she realized that the fight for racial justice and equality did not address Black women’s issues specifically, and when she mentioned the void someone suggested that she take it upon herself to organize a women’s march.
An event planner by profession, Gombe said, “I went around asking African American women there if they would like to start a women’s march. I wanted to create a platform for Black women to put their problems, issues, solutions, ideas and struggles on the table and start building together.”
After Kimberly Bernard, 31 and Monik Walters, 22 joined forces with Gombe, the Black Women’s March held its first official event in June at Herbert Von King Park in Brooklyn.
Invited by Bernard, Chivona Newsome, co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York and Kristin Richardson Jordan, a candidate for a New York City Council seat both spoke at the debut event.
“We had these two powerful women,” Bernard said. “Our message was clear. Vote for women of color. Protect and respect Black and brown women.
Tonight was probably the best demonstration I’ve seen, young leaders brought us all together for a night of peace and action. Thank you NYCActionLab, BLM Greater New York, Black Women’s March, Black Trans March, and all others pic.twitter.com/86EM8UiW2F
— Michael Jenkins (@MikeLynnJenkins) July 31, 2020
Weeks after the first march, community members and numerous others, including organizations led by Black women, approached Gombe, expressing interest in collaborating on the group’s next program.
On July 19, the combined organizations held a candlelight vigil dedicated to the memory of Black men and women who had lost their lives. Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner was one of the honored speakers.
“Black Women’s March is an organization that’s part of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Regine Shabazz, 26, an organizer who joined Black Women’s March this summer. “We have more visibility for Black women and more inclusivity, especially for Black trans women.”
On July 26, a week after the candlelight vigil, the next Black Women’s March was held in Times Square, drawing hundreds of participants. According to NBC News, the majority of speeches delivered at the event focused on eliminating systems and policies that keep Black women and girls caught up in the criminal justice system.
— Chic Chat (@ChicChatTV) June 13, 2020
“There are schools that function as entrees to detention centers, where armed police outnumber teachers, and unaffordable health care, leaving Black women vulnerable to heart disease and cancer,” Bernard said.
After the speeches, the peaceful protestors marched from 42nd Street to Harlem and were protected by a squad of bicyclists that formed a protective barrier between the protestors and traffic along the FDR Drive.
Two weeks after the Time Square event, the group organized a march in honor of Breonna Taylor. That march began in Central Park and snaked over to Henry Hudson Parkway.
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