'Overwhelmingly White' California Women's March Canceled Over Representation Concerns

Organizers said they would work harder to attract participants who reflect the community's diversity.

A Women’s March group in Humboldt County, California, won’t be holding its annual demonstration next month because of concerns participants would be “overwhelmingly white.”

“This decision was made after many conversations between local social-change organizers and supporters of the march,” the chapter’s organizers said Friday in a statement posted on Facebook. “The local organizers are continuing to meet and discuss how to broaden representation in the organizing committee to create an event that represents and supports peoples who live here in Humboldt.”

The problem, the organizers said, was that the group was “lacking representation from several perspectives in our community.” It said it hoped further outreach would add those “crucial voices.” 

U.S. Census Bureau data identifies Humboldt County, along the northern California coastline, as more than 74 percent non-Hispanic, non-Latino white in 2018, with nearly 12 percent of residents Hispanic or Latino, more than 6 percent American Indian and Alaskan natives, more than 1 percent black or African American, and almost 3 percent Asian. 

“Our goal is that planning will continue and we will be successful in creating an event that will build power and community engagement through connection between women that seek to improve the lives of all in our community,” the group said.

The cancelation announcement sparked a wave of responses online, with some praising the decision and others suggesting reconsideration.

The Eureka rally had nearly 8,000 participants in 2017, according to the North Coast Journal, and roughly 5,000 in 2018. 

The Women’s March movement leadership faces controversy of its own. Four leaders of the Washington, D.C., gathering were asked to resign in November amid uproar over their ties to Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam head who has expressed anti-Semitic views. Some state chapters of the group have turned against the D.C. organizers, wary of being associated with Farrakhan’s rhetoric.

Women’s March demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere around the country will be held on Jan. 19.