Is the local chapter of Women4Change attempting to silence Black Women?
There has been a controversy to recently break out surrounding the local chapter of the Women’s Rights Advocacy Group, Women4Change.
Ashley Gurvitz is one of the most prominent and respected Black Democrats in the Indianapolis Political Scene. She works closely besides groups like the Indiana House of Representatives, The Indiana House Democratic Caucus, and numerous local advocacy groups for the Black Community . Besides her track record of doing work in and for the community, she is also known for being soft spoken and extremely careful with the words she uses. That’s why it was a shock to many when she took to Social Media to blast the Women4Change Indiana Chapter.
According to Ms. Gurvitz, the administration and key members of the group have been guilty of repeatedly attempting to silence Black Women members and continuously ignoring “pressing organizational issues surrounding diversity, intersectionality, & inclusion”. She says they have even gone as far as to delete articles posted in their discussion forum, and ultimately blocking her access from the page. As one of the most vocal and well known representatives of Women of Color in the group, this can only be seen as a slap in a face to all Black Women, and other groups, who wish to have their issues addressed within the agendas of the organization.
We reached out to Ashley Gurvitz and she provided us an image from the exchange. She also expressed that due to her not having access to the content of the page any longer, that she was unable to get more screens to give a full representation of the incident.
She also included a screenshot of an exchange with one of the Leaders of The Women4Change Organization, Jennifer Nelson Williams, who appeared to show disinterest in Gurvitz’s concern
It is not hard to believe the claims of Gurvitz , as Women Rights Groups led by white women have long been accused of hijacking and exploiting Black Women as they move their own causes forward, while ignoring the needs of their Black sisters-in-arms. A piece from the Huffington Post a few years back summed up the situation eloquently
The Women’s Liberation movement fought to bring hardships of womanhood to light; from suffrage rights to income inequalities, the movement has, and is, continually addressing issues that inhibit women to live a fully free life. However, fragmentation within the women’s movement, specifically between Black and White women, has contributed to the rapid decline of the movement and hindered the effectiveness of a shared collective identity. According to Black Feminist scholar Barbara Smith, the Black Feminist movement focused on reproductive issues, equality in healthcare prevention of sexual harassment, and other pertinent issues. Unlike the White feminists, Black feminists are actively fighting against structural and institutional racism.
It is unclear what the next step to resolve this situation will be, but it is apparent that a segment Black Women in Indianapolis are tired of the treatment they are receiving from some of these organizations.