Black Women's March

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COLUMBIA - The hosts of the Black Women's March and Marketplace are currently arranging transportation to and from St. Louis Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Reproaction, NARAL Missouri, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Center for Divine Love are all co-sponsoring the event.

The St. Louis march is a localized version of the Black Women's March in Washington D.C. being held on the same day at the same time.

Co-director of Reproaction Pamela Merrit said, "Basically when we found out that there was going to be a march at the nation's Capitol - the Black Women's March, we definitely wanted to do something if we couldn't participate. It didn't make sense for a lot of people financially or logistically to be able to go to D.C. So basically we wanted to show our support here in St. Louis."

The hosts of the event are hoping to see at least 200 people and think they will receive a lot of support in St. Louis due to all the recent race-related protests and incidents.

Teanna Bass, Black Women's March participant, said, "This event is important because it basically allows those people who feel marginalized, those people who feel like their voices are silenced, in order for them to speak out on things they feel like they should speak out on."

According to the Black Women's March news release, "The purpose of this event is to unite black women in all their variety & denounce state violence; mass incarceration; rape & sexual abuse; murder & brutalization of transwomen; the disappearances of girls from our community & the war on people of color migrating to the United States. We need you to gather with us because there's strength in numbers. Let's begin to heal together & support one another."

"There's been a lot of discussion about making sure that we include black women when we talk about Black Lives Matter," Merrit said.

The schedule of the event, according to Merrit, is as follows:

10:00 am: Gather at InPower Institute, 4125 Humphrey St, St. Louis, MO 63116 to begin with meditation & centering practices. 

11:30 am: We will march in solidarity with the March for Black Women in Washington, D.C. to the Divine Center of Love, 3617 Wyoming St, St. Louis, MO 63116 to support black business at a marketplace. Enjoy a massage, handmade soaps & moisturizers, clothing, food, & more. 

12:30 pm: Network, shop, listen, & learn how you can support local campaigns and black-led organizations. 

The March for Black Women is calling on the federal government and Black communities to take the following actions:

1. Issue an apology to all Black women for centuries of abuses, including sexual violence and reproductive violations against Black bodies, especially the brutalization of transwomen.

2. Beyond the 2016 Gender Bias Policing Guidance, ensure immediate and sustainable measures by the U.S. Government to eliminate incarcerations, incidences of rape and “sexual misconduct”, police murder and violence against all Black women, and especially transwomen.

3. End the threat against the human right to healthcare and increase access, including all reproductive health care, bar none. 

4. Ensure economic justice for Black low income women at the communal and federal level, many of whom are at increased risk for violence due to lack of economic power.

5. Cease and desist all threats of deportation of immigrant women across the country, especially those whose deportation may cost them their lives or safety.

Although Merrit said she hopes they will accomplish all of their goals, she hopes everyone gets at least one message out of attending the event.

"I hope that the biggest takeaway from the event is that black women's lives matter and that as a society, we need to prioritize the policies that improve and support black women," Merrit said.

Bass said she's looking forward to feeling a sense of community.

"Empowerment from other women. That's one of the things I'm hoping to get out of it. Unity. I just want to come together in a space with a whole bunch of people who have the same ideas as me," Bass said. "I also believe in the liberation of blacks, all blacks. So this isn't just for black women, it's for black women to come together and then talk about the issues that are affecting us."

This event is free and open to public.

To learn more about the event or correspond with the hosts click this link.