Black Lives Matter LA Says It Wasn't Invited To Participate In The Women's March For The First Time

In this Jan. 20, 2018, file photo, protesters gather at the Grand Park for the Women's March in Los Angeles. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

On Thursday, Black Lives Matter LA posted a tweet which claimed that the organization was excluded from this year's Women's March LA, an annual protest that launched in 2017 following the election of President Donald Trump.

BLMLA has been invited onstage to speak at the march for the past three years, said Melina Abdullah, one of the organization's co-founders.

"This was the first year that we didn't receive an invite," she said.

When Abdullah reached out to organizers at the Women's March Foundation, which puts on the march in L.A., she says her first requests for information went ignored, and she was then told the foundation was "trying to give space to new voices."

According to a press release sent by foundation officials, speakers at the 2020 Women's March will include:

Politicians Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Eric Garcetti, Maxine Waters, Karen Bass and Rusty Hicks; attorney Gloria Allred; activists Caitlyn Jenner and Lorri Jean; and actors Rosanna Arquette, Yvette Nicole Brown, Wilson Cruz, Joely Fisher, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Tatiana Maslany, Marlee Matlin, June Diane Raphael*, Raven-Symoné, Michelle Rodriguez, Bella Thorne and Lisa Ann Walter.

To Abdullah, the lineup's inclusion of celebrities of color doesn't make up for its lack of voices from within the community of black female organizers.

"We think that the exclusion specifically of Black Lives Matter really reflects anti-blackness," she said. "That is how we see this."

The Women's March Foundation provided LAist with the following statement:

Black Lives Matter has participated in past year's programming and we hope they will march in support of women's rights again this year. While we support Black Lives Matter and its work, since this is an important election year, our speaking program for Women's March LA 2020 is focused on highlighting organizations and individuals who have a mission to register and encourage people to vote.

*Since learning about the exclusion of BLMLA, Raphael withdrew from the march in solidarity.

UPDATES:

Jan. 17, 4:50 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from the Women's March Foundation.

Jan. 19, 12:32 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect the withdrawal of actress June Diane Raphael.

This article was originally published at 3:26 p.m on Jan. 17.