The organizers of the Women’s March have locked down Sen. Bernie Sanders as the opening night speaker at the Women’s Convention in Detriot October 27-29. This would be the first Women’s Convention held in 40 years.
“I’m honored to join the women at the front lines of our struggle for economic, social, racial and environmental justice,” Sanders said in a statement Thursday, according to Detroit Free Press. “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.”
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) October 12, 2017
Twitter users were not amused with the senator’s involvement. Sanders received harsh feedback from Twitter users who said his headlining slot is “hurtful” and “wrong.” There was little to none positive feedback for the announcement.
Several Twitter users simply expressed their disappointment with Sander’s planned participation.
I’ve never wanted so badly to tell someone to stay in their lane as I do the men weighing in on the #WomensConvention right now.
— _️_Rayne Millaray_ (@RayneMillaray) October 12, 2017
Saying that Bernie is the “most powerful” on Women’s issues when he supported a pro-life candidate is wrong.
— Jennifer Salter (@jsalt44) October 12, 2017
With today’s announcement it’s painfully evident that the Women’s March group is nothing more than the Bernie Fangirl Club #WomensConvention
— Bree (@BreeKC) October 12, 2017
A white dude is delivering the opening speech at the first women’s convention in 40 years.
Such progress. Wow. https://t.co/WNmVznMo9K
— _Imani Gandy_ (@AngryBlackLady) October 12, 2017
— femalepersuasion.net (@femalep) October 12, 2017
Some suggested that women should boycott the convention and its organizers.
— mymoondawg (@mymoondawg) October 12, 2017
— ✊#Resistance Eric ✊ (@_erock) October 12, 2017
— Oregon Coast Living (@obandon1384) October 12, 2017
Many others suggested that Sanders should be replaced as speaker, and recommended qualified women for the job.
Could you seriously not find a single WOMAN to give the opening remarks at the #WOMENSconvention _
— Sarah Feldmann (@sarahfelds) October 12, 2017
They chose Bernie over Maxine Waters, Kalama Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cecile Richards
Hard times for us, women! _ #WomensConvention
— Angie (@angiedam2) October 12, 2017
— Erika H _ (@amerika206) October 12, 2017
Those who didn’t understand that the backlash towards Sanders alleged that the convention’s organizer’s likely wouldn’t be able to afford preferred speaker Hillary Clinton, who was reported to be priced at $275,000 in 2015.
“I don’t know what’s dumber: people thinking the #WomensConvention can afford Hillary or Beyoncé or that they think it’s a moneymaking scheme,” one user tweeted.
The event’s organizers issued a statement Wednesday following the heavy backlash present on social media over Sanders.
“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 Woman’s March organizers wrote in a Facebook post. “We are thrilled that Rep. Maxine Waters and Senator Sanders will be speaking at the Women’s Convention.”
The organizers added: “We all know how busy women leaders are, and we are grateful for the support of women like Secretary Clinton and Senators Harris, Warren and Gillibrand…their schedules did not allow them to join us in Detroit.”
The event still secured many high-profile women leaders for the weekend of Oct. 27. The roster includes more than 60 women leading in activism, advocacy and organizing, among other areas. Joining Sanders and Waters as speakers are Amber Tamblyn, Angela Rye, Piper Perabo, Raquel Castaneda Lopez and Lenore Anderson, among several others.
The Women’s Convention will take place at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, which was chosen by event organizers for a particular reason.
“Detroit is a beautiful city, full of historical and political significance, and a multitude of lived experiences — a perfect setting for women, femmes and our allies seeking to strengthen our growing, intersectional movement,” the organizer’s wrote on its website. “Many of the issues that led us to march in January 2017 are starkly visible in Detroit and its surrounding areas.”