Bernie San­ders to speak at Detroit Women’s Con­ven­tion

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY MAU­REEN FEIGHAN The Detroit News mfeighan@de­troit­ (313) 223-4686

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders will speak at the na­tional Women’s Con­ven­tion Oct. 27-29 at Cobo Cen­ter in Detroit, a fol­low-up to this year’s record-break­ing Women’s March.

San­ders will speak Fri­day evening on how the pro­gres­sive move­ment can move for­ward and achieve its pri­or­i­ties. U.S. Max­ine Wa­ters, D-Cal­i­for­nia, will be the key­note speaker on Oct. 28.

“I’m hon­ored to join the women at the front lines of our strug­gle for eco­nomic, so­cial, racial and en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice,” said San­ders in a press re­lease. “In Jan­uary, mil­lions of women came out in an ex­tra­or­di­nary and un­prece­dented dis­play of power and re­sis­tance. Now more than ever, we must sup­port the lead­er­ship of women across the coun­try and fight to­gether to ad­vance our pro­gres­sive agenda.”

San­ders is the lat­est high­pro­file name to be added to the itin­er­ary of the up­com­ing con­ven­tion, which is ex­pected to draw as many 5,000 women from all over the world along with politi­cians, ac­tivists and celebri­ties. Ses­sions will cover ev­ery­thing from how to build po­lit­i­cal coali­tions and hy­per­local ac­tivism to broader is­sues, such as im­mi­gra­tion, gen­der eq­uity sex­ual as­sault.

Other speak­ers in­clude Brenda Lawrence, D-Michi­gan, ac­tress Am­ber Tamblyn, Detroit Coun­cil­woman Raquel Cas­tañeda Lopez and dozens more. The con­ven­tion’s theme is “Re­claim­ing Our Time.”

“Se­na­tor San­ders has been a fierce cham­pion of women’s rights and bol­ster­ing fe­male voices through­out his ca­reer of pub­lic ser­vice,” said Tamika Mal­lory, Women’s March co-presi- dent, in a press re­lease. “We are hon­ored that he will be join­ing us at the con­ven­tion to lend his voice in sup­port of women lead­ers from across the coun­try who will be con­verg­ing in Detroit.”

But not ev­ery­one was thrilled that San­ders would be a main speaker. Just hours af­ter the an­nounce­ment, crit­ics blasted the de­ci­sion on so­cial me­dia.

“With Bernie San­ders as an open­ing speaker for a Wo­man’s Con­ven­tion in Detroit, it feels like black women are go­ing to be used as props,” wrote Face­book user Shanay Wat­son-Whittaker. “We’re an 82 per­cent black city! It doesn’t make sense!”

The Women’s March seemed to de­fend its de­ci­sion with a state­ment Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“We in­vited many elected of­fi­cials to our con­ven­tion that align with the pur­pose and mis­sion of our ex­is­tence – to har­ness the po­lit­i­cal power of di­verse women and their com­mu­ni­ties to cre­ate trans­for­ma­tive so­cial change,” the state­ment read. “We are thrilled that Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters and Sen. San­ders will be speak­ing at the Women’s Con­ven­tion.”

Mem­bers of the con­ven­tion’s lo­cal host com­mit­tee say it makes sense that the con­ven­tion, which is the first of its kind, is be­ing held in Detroit given how many of the same is­sues af­fect­ing the city – trans­porta­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and crim­i­nal jus­tice – are chal­lenges across the coun­try.


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