People are upset Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at the Women’s Convention

Bernie SandersJoe
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The organizers behind the upcoming Women’s Convention are being
criticized for inviting Sen. Bernie Sanders to speak during
the event’s opening night.

The Women’s Convention is run by the leaders of January’s
Women’s March movement, which saw five million women join
protests around the world.

The convention says on its website that “We are the leaders
we have been waiting for,” and hopes to bring together activists
and political leaders to equip and inspire ahead of the 2018 US
midterm elections.

The announcement of Sanders’ speech at the conference
with the theme “Reclaiming our Time” was almost immediately
followed by widespread criticism on social media and by leading
organisations, including EMILY’S List.

“This announcement sends the wrong message to women
everywhere,” read a statement from EMILY’S List, which has helped
elect pro-choice Democratic women since it was created in

“We have more women leaders in elected office than ever before …
EMILY’s List is proud to have supported many of those women every
step of the way, and we know that there is a tidal wave of rising
stars coming behind them. The choice of Senator Sanders sends the
wrong message,” the statement said.

As of Thursday night, the convention had 39 scheduled
speakers listed on its website and only two – Sanders and Abdul
El-Sayed, who is running to be the first Muslim governor in the
US – appear to not be female.

In response to calls to select a woman to open the
convention, Tamika Mallory, the co-president of the Women’s
March Board, tweeted
that 78-year-old California Rep. Maxine
Waters – who is currently serving her


term and coined the
phrase “Reclaiming our Time” – is actually headlining the

However, a search of the Twitter and Facebook accounts of
Women’s March did not find any use of the term ‘headline’ and
Rep. Waters’ name. The group’s Twitter account stated that Waters
would be “joining” the convention and they also tweeted out a
media report that Waters would be “attending.” This language is
different to most conferences that usually announce their
“headline speakers” by explicit use of that phrase.

As people online began suggesting dozens of alternative
opening-night speakers, including women senators, the Women’s
Convention released its own statement saying that “We all
know how busy women leaders are.”

“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 change.

We are thrilled that Rep Maxine Waters and Senator Sanders will
be speaking at the Women’s Convention. We all know how busy women
leaders are, and we are grateful for the support of women like
Secretary Clinton along with Senators Harris, Warren and
Gillibrand. Although their schedules did not allow them to join
us in Detroit the weekend of October 27.”

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