Organizing globally to combat gender violence is an amazing, hard, flawed and sometimes impossible effort. Our movement is one that is based on deep respect for our sisters across class, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, ability and other markers of identity.
In my phone call with Lauren Chief Elk I believed I had clearly communicated that V-Day and I were deeply sorry for not knowing about the Women’s Memorial Marches sooner. V-Day should have known about their existence, especially since they fall on February 14, a day of shared significance for the organizers of the March and V-Day. We should have determined together whether it was possible for the two events to take place on the same day in a way that felt respectful to all. If that was not going to be possible, V-Day could have adapted. By the time the WMM was brought to our attention, the One Billion Rising events were too far down the path and there was no way to right the situation so that everyone was happy and everyone’s work and commitment was fully respected. As Tanisha’s letter states, we did try to find a compromise but we failed.
Our failure to be aware of the Marches sooner and to come to a solution that made the organizers of the Marches feel supported indicates that there are bridges missing in our movement. We take these gaps in our knowledge and understanding seriously and are determined to address them this year. It is my deepest hope that representatives of the Women’s Memorial March will meet with us in the coming weeks so we can follow their lead in organizing for 2014.