Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

EMILY's List: Sanders headlining Women's Convention 'sends the wrong message'

EMILY's List: Sanders headlining Women's Convention 'sends the wrong message'

Bernie Sanders (I.) headline their 2017 convention. "We have more women leaders in elected office than ever before, and they are forcibly leading the resistance against Trump and his allies in Congress who are intent on attacking women".

The Women's Convention is run by the leaders of January's Women's March movement, which saw five million women join protests around the world.

But not everyone welcomed the decision to give a prominent role to a man at a women's conference with the motto 'Reclaiming Our Time'. Numerous issues that led us to march in January 2017 are starkly visible in Detroit and its surrounding areas: economic inequality, environmental injustice, de facto segregation, ICE raids, violent policing, and overall unequal access and opportunity. EMILY's List is among the groups supporting the event.

As of Thursday night, the convention had 39 scheduled speakers listed on its website and only two - Sanders and Abdul El-Sayed, who is running to be the first Muslim governor in the USA - appear to not be female. "He is really in line with the principles of the Women's March", Mallory said. This language is different to most conferences that usually announce their "headline speakers" by explicit use of that phrase.

On the opening night of the first Women's Convention in decades, more than 3,000 women and progressive activists will hear from a white man.

Will & Grace star Debra Messing on Thursday emerged as a vocal critic of Sanders' pick, questioning the organizers' reluctance to choose a prominent female leader for the job.

Detroit is a attractive city, full of historical and political significance, and a multitude of lived experiences-a ideal setting for women, femmes and our allies seeking to strengthen our growing, intersectional movement. 'Although their schedules did not allow them to join us in Detroit the weekend of October 27, they will be fighting for our shared values, as they do every day'.

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