Just this one sign kept it simple, but sparked quite the conversation when it was spotted in the crowd in D.C. and shared on social media:
The woman holding the sign and sucking on a lollipop unbothered is Angela Peoples, the co-director of the LGBTQ organization GetEqual. While people felt her sign was divisive, as Peoples told The Root, she felt it was a necessary message not to get uncomfortable about but to face.
As for the response to her sign, Peoples said many of the White women in the crowd either made sure that she knew they didn’t vote for Trump or were admittedly ashamed by those who did.
“Most were saying, ‘Not this White woman,’ or ‘No one I know!’ I’d say, ‘[Fifty-three percent] of White women voted for Trump. That means someone you know, someone who is in close community with you, voted for Trump. You need to organize your people.’ And some people said, ‘Oh, I’m so ashamed.’ Don’t be ashamed; organize your people.”
She continued, “That’s why the photo was such a great moment to capture, because it tells the story of White women in this moment wanting to just show up in a very superficial way and not wanting to do the hard work of making change, of challenging their own privilege. You’re here protesting, but don’t forget: the folks that you live with every single day—and, probably some of the women that decided to come to the march—voted for Trump, made the decision to vote against self-interests to maintain their White supremacist way of life.”
Peoples also said that she felt like her experience at the march in D.C. was “very White.” She pointed out the belief by many that when you talk about feminism in this country, the focus is on the experiences of White women. But will these same women get behind Black women?
“I definitely have hope,” Peoples said. “But I don’t think it’s a matter of White women becoming interested in our issues; I need them to recognize they are implicit or complicit benefactors of systems like White supremacy and patriarchy—and that’s a problem. Because issues of reproductive justice, wage issues, those are our issues, too. We don’t need them to take on a new set of issues; we need them to understand the impact of these particular issues when it comes to race and gender and different experiences. They need to make adjustments to how they’re organizing, what they’re advocating for and how they show up to these systems based on that understanding.”
As for other Black women who voiced their frustration with the idea of White women only coming out to stand up for their own interests, Peoples understands them and extends her love.
“The only words I have are, ‘I love you and I see you,’” she said. “When Black women expressed those feelings, I saw White women and gay men [saying it’s divisive]—some of the same sh-t that people are saying to me about the poster. That also hurts because we’re only being seen when we’re coming together behind you. When we’re speaking about our pain, when we’re asking you to show up, then it’s divisive, then it’s somehow detrimental to the broader cause. That’s simply not true.”
She continued, “But one thing I do know is, Black women, we got us; we’re continuing to organize our own communities, we’re continuing to hold folks accountable across genders, across race. I would actually say to White women, if you want to be a part of a powerful movement that’s going to get something done, you need to get behind and trust Black women, trust Black femmes, trust Black trans women. Because we are making this way out of no way. If you’re a White woman thinking, ‘What’s next? Everything seems insurmountable,’ welcome to the f–king party. Listen to a Black woman.”
Say what you want, but Peoples made some really strong points — or as I like to say, “She was preachin’.” Check out her full interview with The Root and share your thoughts on her sign and the rationale behind creating it.