LAWA’s statement on our participation in the Women’s March on London

On the past 21st of January, the Latin American Women’s Aid, together with other Latin American women, marched on the Women’s March on London. We decided to join the Women’s March on London because we Latin American women and other Black and Minority ethnic women and migrant women have been for long but are now more than ever being particularly threatened and targeted by racism, xenophobia and sexism both in the US but also in the UK. Trump embodies these hate discourses, policies and practices as much as Theresa May or Nigal Farage in the UK austerity scenario and post-Brexit vote scenario in which cuts to Domestic Violence services, racism and anti-migrant practices have been legitimised and widespread. The attack to our rights and the rise of hate is a cross border reality and we, women of colour and migrant women are the hardest hit. That said, we felt interpellated to join an International movement of women in one of many Sisters Women’s March happening in the world.
As a Latin American BME organisation, as black feminists committed to intersectional feminism, we understood the Women’s March on London as an opportunity to take the streets, raise our voices and self-represent our struggles. Our journey of taking action is not limited to this march, we have been for decades resisting and collectively building spaces to transform the oppressive structures of power, nurturing the collective empowerment of migrant women of colour and the self-determination of our communities. However, although the Women’s March on London at first seemed to call for a collective action in favour of the rights of women, in fact, it did not properly allowed for all voices of women to be represented. We regret that the prevailed discourse has been a white feminism one that reinforces privilege, reproduces power imbalances, and silences the voices of other women.
One of our lessons learnt at the Women’s March on London is the urgency to bring to the forefront of the debate an analysis of race, class, borders, disability, power, privilege and other oppressions that we, women of colour, experience in opposition to a white washed feminism that prevailed in this march. As a BME feminist organisation we believe that feminism has to be intersectional. We believe in a feminist movement that deeply acknowledges intersectional forms of oppression and brings the voices and concerns of migrants, black women and women of colour; working class women; disabled women; LBTQ women and non-binary people to the heart of this movement by allowing space for self-representation.
We regret that the Women’s March did not fully reflect such principles. We stand in solidarity with other women of colour who have raised very important critiques to the organisers of the Women’s March London, raising its lack of intersectionality and inclusivity and eventually deciding not to attend to the march. We recognise their decision not to attend the march as a political act of resistance. We stand in solidarity with all women who felt unrepresented and excluded from the organizational process, and despite this, challenged the organizers of the Women’s March on London writing powerful statements denouncing the vices and practices that permeate feminist spaces, which are based on privilege. We hope that in the future, together we can build more inclusive and intersectional feminist spaces and movements truly based on sisterhood and solidarity. Our protest and resistance did not start and does not end with the Women’s March.

Be a change maker!

Change Maker is a new project by LAWA, which aims to encourage Latin American and BME women that speak Portuguese and/or Spanish to become change makers.

What is the Change Maker programme?

It is a space for women to find empowerment (and help other women to do the same) and be more active within their social environments, triggering change.

Within a feminist space for women only, we will offer tools to raise awareness about the connection between gender-based violence and inequality (social, economic, racial and cultural) that affects us.

Why should you be a Change Maker?

A change maker is the bridge between culture & knowledge. If we recognise our abilities and knowledge in a personal and collective way, the possibilities to change realities of injustice and inequalities into fair and inclusive ones are much higher.

How?

Through a community space of feminist learning, we will provide strategies of self care, autonomy and empowerment.

When?

The project is structured in four parts, each one lasts two months, with two activities each mont. Day and time can be arranged according to the personal availability of each participant.

Where?

The workshops and activities will take place at LAWA’s headquarters in Dalston as well as other community spaces, but we will keep you informed and let you know in advance.

Who can take part:

  • Latin American and BME women of all ages, sexual orientation, migrant situation, of any social, politic and economic background
  • Spanish or Portuguese speakers
  • You need to have an idea for a project, or be wiling to develop one. A project that will contribute to personal and collective empowerment
  • You will need to fill a form and attend an interview
  • If you are selected, we ask for your commitment and availability

What we offer:

  • Confidentiality and respect
  • A safe space to develop your project
  • Workshops and classes in Spanish and Portuguese
  • Materials and other resources
  • Personalised guidance and group discussions about the projects and initiatives of Change Maker
  • Meals
  • Creche

If you are interested, please get in touch with Jael: jael@lawadv.org.uk