Episode 75: You are fake news
Published January 13, 2017.
Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.
Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.
Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman.
Aminatou: This week on Call Your Girlfriend we talk about decorating dilemmas and New Year's resolutions that are not resolved and watching too much cable news and politics, our sentient Cheeto president, and we talk to some of the amazing organizers for the upcoming women's march in Washington. Find out more about the march at womensmarch.com.
Aminatou: Hi Ann Friedman. Happy birthday!
Ann: I mean no longer my birthday although I do celebrate for at minimum one week.
Aminatou: Birthday, birthday week. I'm sorry.
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: Like you've got to accept my birthday greeting for the next like six more days.
Ann: Listen, I accept you. It is not hard to sell me on continuing to celebrate my birthday. I love my birthday.
Ann: Birthdays are a very important holiday. It's like it is not tied to any civic, religious, old-school, nationalistic holiday. I mean it's totally just like everybody gets one. The most democratic holiday. I love them so much.
Aminatou: Yo, can you believe if you had to do some civic shit for your birthday? That would be insane.
Ann: Exactly. But I'm just saying all other holidays or days off work or breaks you get come with some other sort of religious or loaded civic meaning and the birthday is just like the best. I mean some people choose . . .
Aminatou: [Laughs] When I'm king I'll put you in charge of the Ministry of Birthdays.
Ann: Oh my god, I would totally be your birthday czar.
Aminatou: [Laughs] You're like so . . . I don't know why you don't just quit journalism and do that full-time.
Ann: Oh my god, I wonder if I could carve out a fake career as a birthday consultant/czar.
Aminatou: You've definitely been my birthday consultant. Remember when I met you and I used to hide for my birthday and now I do things?
Ann: Oh my god, I know. Well listen, birthdays are all about celebrating you so I've already . . .
Ann: I'm like already . . .
Aminatou: That's the tagline for Ann'z Birthdayz, like your business, Ann'z with a Z, Birthdayz with a Z. And it's like birthdays are all about celebrating you, baby. [Laughs]
Ann: Oh my god, I'm totally going to get a weird party van with Ann'z Birthdayz on the side of it. I can't wait.
Aminatou: Did you get any good gifts?
Ann: I mean I got a lot of really great quality time and really lovely gestures from friends this year which I have to say is way better. Like people wrote me really nice notes and turned up and shared their day with me and that was the best. And not to be too misty-eyed about it but I had a great day.
Aminatou: I love hearing that. It makes me so happy.
Ann: Yeah. Non-material birthdays, it's the new thing.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Don't worry, one day I'm going to buy you a yacht, remember?
Ann: Oh, okay.
Aminatou: That's my rich lady promise to you.
Ann: I cannot wait for that material birthday. [Laughs]
Aminatou: I'm working really hard on it. Don't worry.
Ann: Ugh, we can finally live the Rihanna on yacht Google Image search dream.
Aminatou: That's right, when we can quit this small potatoes podcast shit. [Laughs]
Ann: [Laughs] Tell me, how was your week? What's happening?
Aminatou: My week is going really good. I am recovering from illness so it's kind of exciting not to feel sick at all. You know, it's the small things, right? You never remember what it's like to be full-healthy until you are.
Ann: I know, when normal feels so good.
Aminatou: Yeah, you're like my breathing is normal. I just walked three miles and I'm not dying. Just normal shit. I've just been doing a ton of life admin. I need to pick a color for my walls, for my apartment, and it is really stressing me out. It's been a month and it is intensely stressing me out. I'm like why don't I just paint this place white? I just have like decision paralysis over paint right now.
Ann: That's how people end up with eggshell. They're like I don't want to decide but I have to decide.
Aminatou: I know, but the thing is I could just paint it white, right? But I just don't know. I don't know where to start. And the problem is I can't unpack most of my boxes until I make that decision and so I've given myself like a Friday ultimatum. Well, after this I'm going to get a Korean body scrub then after that I'm going to the hardware store.
Aminatou: To look at paints. [Laughs]
Aminatou: I'm like I need a body scrub and I need a Xanax, then I'm going to walk in there and I'm going to look at a color wheel. I don't know why I'm so stressed out about it. It feels so high-stakes for something that should not be high-stakes at all.
Ann: I have to say that making big choices about what to put in your environment around you is kind of high-stakes. Like I don't know, the last time I felt that was trying to buy a rug. You know what I mean? Where you're like this is . . .
Aminatou: Oh yeah, don't get me started on furniture. That's its own . . . I had to start taking Maalox for that. That's serious. Yeah, it's almost like you're just starting from scratch and you're like I can be anybody I want to be right now. [Laughs]
Ann: You could walk into my house and be like oh, she's that kind of person. Okay.
Aminatou: Yeah, I'm like I could be that girl with the blush walls, you know? But I don't know. [Laughs]
Ann: Millennial pink? Millennial pink walls.
Aminatou: No, no, not millennial pink. Like super blush, like classy blush.
Ann: I see.
Aminatou: Not like glossier walls, you know what I'm saying? In fact if anybody has recently painted please send me what your decision process was because white is fine. I don't know why I'm so stressed out about this.
Ann: I also love that in this moment of intense national upheaval and a lot of big-level political stress you're like wall paint, this is how I'm channeling. I totally relate.
Aminatou: Oh yeah, no, I am riding out the Trump years via home improvements, working out, and watching all of the television. That's just what I'm focusing on.
Ann: So you don't want to talk about the news at all? [Laughs]
Aminatou: I don't know. What's in the news? I mean I watched the press conference and I legit LOLed and it honestly made me feel better. I feel like I turned a corner this week. I just heard him talk and it was such a disaster nightmare but it was hilarious at the same time. This is going to be really bad. Like I don't want to make a joke of it, it is going to be bad. But I can have a sense of humor about it and I can pace myself.
Ann: I mean it's almost hard. It's interesting, when I kind of tune into his actual ways of talking it's just like an obstinate toddler or something.
Ann: And it's so far outside the realm of what you expect from public decorum or public discourse that it's hard to sort of take it seriously. I know it sounds screwed up. I mean obviously it's super, super serious. But I was reading the transcript of the Cheeto and a CNN reporter where the CNN reporter is attempting to ask a totally basic, run of the mill question.
Aminatou: Yo, Jim Acosta.
Aminatou: And he got shut down. That was amazing.
Ann: And the toddler is like "No, no, no."
Aminatou: No, Ann, in fact he said "You are fake news," and that's when I lost it. I just laughed so hard. This is just like theatre. Like the whole thing is like high-performance art right now and it's wild.
Ann: What I'm trying to figure out is stuff like the press conference, is it really theatre? Should we be writing it off because it's just him playing around? Or is it really real and to write it off as theatre is to downplay the truly terrible things that are like also, you know, transpiring in Congress and in federal agencies?
Aminatou: Well, I don't know. I think we can operate on both levels because 1,000 percent why it's theatre . . . [Laughs] So they brought in this lady lawyer to be like "Here's why I'm not divesting anything," you know? Like he made her explain it. The lady lawyer was so flat. She kept referring to the Trump brand. It was pretty incredible. The heart of this matter is there are actual ethical requirements to being president, right?
Ann: Oh, really? Wow. Shocking.
Aminatou: That's why like . . . [Laughs]
Ann: What do you say? Hmm.
Aminatou: Like financial shit is like . . . instead of addressing that, their whole frame for why they were doing this press conference is she was like "Listen, he could sell his business but that would really suck for him." [Laughs]
Aminatou: And I was like listen, I didn't go to law school. I also heard the word emolument like everybody on November 9th. I'm not even trying to pretend I know what the deal is with government ethics. I know as much as the next person knows. But the thing that is fascinating is how they treat you like you're stupid. You're like I know how to read, lawyer lady. This is wild. Also I know what a conflict of interest is. But here was the best part of the press conference: next to her there was this table. You know how whenever the police does drug busts they're like here is all the cocaine that we found on someone else? [Laughs]
Ann: It's all laid out, like things organized neatly? Yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah. She had a table next to her of just these manila folders full of paper. Nobody explains what the deal is. Literally one hour into the press conference when baby boss has decided he's done he goes. [Laughs] He's like "Oh, by the way, all of these papers are . . . they're all my deals I have to give up and all the deals we're not doing." And I'm like I need somebody to go up to that table and open one manila folder because I guarantee you it's blank people.
Ann: Well it's just like it's a piece of blank paper with a smiley face with its tongue sticking out, written on it in crayon.
Aminatou: Yeah. That's just like you got got. [Laughs] Just like this is . . .
Ann: It's like a Pepe drawing or something. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Yeah. And that was the part where I was like you know what? This shit happens in like Africa and warm countries all the time and we're always like they're corrupt. They're like blah, blah, blah. And it's kind of -- I don't know, it made me feel warm inside as somebody who's from a corruption country that that stuff happens everywhere, you know?
Ann: Yeah, that no one is above it.
Aminatou: You're just like oh. You just need the guy who's like "I don't care" and then this is what happens. He's like I'm putting my son-in-law here. I'm giving my daughter this. My sons are getting this thing. You know, it's just like nobody is above nepotism. It's beautiful. [Laughs] But it's obviously very serious, but at the same time it's like literally we have a baby for a president and he's just screaming all the time.
Ann: I agree that that level of absurdity and all of that is terrible, but stuff like the Jeff Sessions confirmation process, this being someone who has a very distinct and clear basically like record as an institutional racist . . . like if you wanted to make a CV for what are the qualifications for being super into . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, it's like usually their first names are Jefferson and their middle names are Beauregard.
Aminatou: I'm like I know that the game sucks, but you have the name structure of an institutional racist. Like that's not my fault. I don't make the rules.
Ann: And the record to back it up. He isn't just a pretty name. He's got like, you know -- he's like listen, I've been blocking black people from becoming judges since before you were born. Don't worry.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's like I've been doing it since reconstruction times. What do you know?
Ann: I've been deconstructing reconstruction for decades so . . . [Laughs]
Aminatou: There was an amazing exchange though during the first couple hours of his confirmation hearings when, you know, the other suspicious name in Congress, Lindsey Graham . . .
Ann: I've heard your theories about him.
Aminatou: You know, I have such a soft spot for Lindsey Graham because he's like a single man and he hates Trump as much as I do. But this exchange, it was fast -- it was crazy. I was just like can we rewind this? This is nuts. It's when he was like man, doesn't it suck that people just think that you're racist because you're southern? He's like I know how that feels. Jeff Sessions is like I know how that feels. And they bond over that and I'm like what?
Ann: Oh, god.
Aminatou: We don't think that you're racist because you're from the south; we think you're racist because your record is racist. [Laughs]
Ann: Exactly. Because you've literally done nothing that is like . . . nothing but racist things that are also deeply institutionalized like having to do with the criminal justice system, how politicians get elected. Like I'm sorry, like the basic building blocks of democracy.
Aminatou: Right. I'm not asleep here. I know how to read, you know what I mean?
Aminatou: But like I don't know, these people are all liars. Al Franken's the only one who's like "I'm going to catch you in a deep lie," right? And then caught him in the lie of he hadn't actually prosecuted nearly the number of cases he said against like KKK members. And it's just like small things, and all these people think we need to trust them because they're like honorable people. And I'm like no, everybody's a liar until proven otherwise, especially you.
Ann: Wow. Also good shout out to Al Franken which was maybe the only time that electing a celebrity didn't go terribly wrong, you know?
Aminatou: Right? But it's also because he's smart.
Ann: No, I know. I'm just saying it's a lovely outlier to what is otherwise a really disturbing . . .
Aminatou: He is, but he's so shady. Oh my god, there was so much shade. The whole time he was like "Listen, I'm not a lawyer and I don't know how all this lawyer talk works but this seems like . . ." And I was like that's right, hit them where it hurts. Pretend like you don't watch Law and Order like me. Me and Al Franken have Law and Order degrees. It's from NBC University. Yeah, I know, but these people are all crazy. The whole thing is weird. And then I watched a couple minutes of the Rex Tillerson guy.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: And I'm like you literally have the name of a villain in a Batman movie. I can't take this seriously.
Ann: But it's one of those things too where, I mean, you're right. It's like oh, wow, the racist potential attorney general has got a very classically southern racist name.
Ann: Oh, the corporate buddy/buddy problematic secretary of state nominee has a name also totally befitting an international villain.
Aminatou: I'm telling you, the whole thing is theatre. Our president is a reality TV star. He knows what he's doing down to how he's picking these people.
Ann: But you get to walk out of a theater.
Aminatou: [Sighs] Listen, we're going to get to watch out of this; it's just whatever the damage is going to be.
Ann: Some of us will. We will. In that vein . . .
Aminatou: Yeah. It's just like that's the thing, right? It's just that you know it's going to be really bad. Just like very bad.
Ann: I know. But it's also important to keep talking about it and important to keep saying all of their names and paying attention beyond the press conference and tweet circus.
Aminatou: Yo, I call my congressman so much I'm on a first-name basis with the receptionist. I'm tired.
Ann: Yeah, I don't know. The whole one call a day thing has been . . . I've set a minimum, I'm going to make one call a day at least, whether it's local. To be honest my senators are pretty good, like the thank you call was in order this week. Thank you Kamala. At a certain point -- I mean I'm going to be doing it honestly, but it is tough to kind of feel like it matters after a while, you know what I mean?
Aminatou: It's tough to feel like you care because all I want to do . . . I was talking -- I called Chuck Schumer's office because he's my senator, or he's one of my senators. It's just like at some point I want to be like put Chuck on the phone. [Laughs] I am tired of hearing all of the same like "Yes, the senator will take this into consideration and he'll care." You know, it's just like the frustration has boiled over. And it's also really frustrating even when your senators are really good, and we're both lucky to live in states at least where our senators kind of care about our politics. But it is very, very, very frustrating to still see the kind of grandstanding and hear them be very conciliatory on television and all of this stuff when you just feel the urgency that people's lives are literally at stake. And Congress can be really frustrating this way. You're just like do you people know this? Do you people know that people are actually worried and it's not about just being buddies with Jeff Sessions, you know? Because the reason that everybody likes Jeff Sessions is because they're like he's such a nice guy. And I'm like great, but racist people can be nice people too. That's crazy.
Ann: Yeah. And also, I mean this is like a classic political thing that people say, right? Which is "Oh, in his heart of hearts he doesn't hate women or black people." Or our horrible sentient Cheeto president wasn't really mocking a Pulitzer prize winning reporter because he has a physical disability. No, no, really in his heart he loves all these people. Just take our word for it. Like nothing infuriates me more, as if I really care what their feelings are. I care what they do, you know what I mean?
Aminatou: Right. I'm like I don't know you. I don't know you. I'm not trying to know your heart. You know people by their actions and that's it.
Ann: All I see is your institutional racist resume. I don't know how you are. You might've done all of this with a smile on your face.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Yo, some people do have institutional racist CVs, just like straight up. You're like wow. You're like any time there's a law that helps women you vote against it. Any time there's a law that makes it easier for people of color you vote . . . like what?
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: This is crazy. Too much cable news for one week and I'm just not going to.
Ann: Okay, pause.
Aminatou: But Ann, if you could literally watch that part where Trump tells the CNN guy you are fake news you should watch it.
Ann: Well I read the transcript but I will go back and watch it.
Aminatou: The transcript does not do it justice. You need visuals because you will die.
Male: And since you're attacking us can you give us a question? Mr. President-elect. Mr. President-elect.
Trump: Go ahead. Go ahead. No, not you. Not you.
Male: Since you are attacking our news organization can you give us a chance?
Trump: Your organization is terrible.
Male: You are attacking our news organization. Can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?
Trump: Go ahead. Quiet. Quiet.
Male: Can you state -- Mr. President-elect, can you . . .
Trump: She's asking a question. Don't be rude. Don't be rude.
Male: Because you're attacking us can you give us a question? Can you give us a question?
Trump: No, I'm not going to give you a -- I'm not going to give you a question.
Male: Can you state categorically . . .
Trump: You are fake news. Go ahead.
Male: Can you state categorically that nobody . . . [Applause] Mr. President-elect, that's not appropriate.
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Aminatou: Are you going to the march in D.C.? The women's march that is. Not the crazy marches.
Ann: [Laughs] Not the inauguration of an obstinate Cheeto toddler boss?
Aminatou: Ann, if you went to the inauguration you would be the only celebrity the administration scored.
Ann: I'm actually performing. No, I'm just kidding.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Can we announce here that we're doing a podcast live taping for the Trump family on January 20th?
Ann: Don't even joke about that. Like once America has fully become a fascist state and our choices are do a live podcast at the White House featuring Ivanka or something or be like kicked out of the country it won't be so funny.
Aminatou: If Ivanka invites me personally I'll think about it.
Ann: Wow. Yeah, anyway, I'm going . . . I'm going to what promises to be a very massive march of women and allies on the 21st of January in Washington, D.C. Definitely I will be there. No, I have not figured out my t-shirt/sign slogan yet.
Aminatou: I hope you wear a big old fur.
Ann: [Laughs] I mean, yeah, I've got to work on it. I've got -- squaring the cold weather with a cute protest look is what I've got to figure out next. Yeah, also I'm bringing my recording equipment because I'm going to talk to some women who are also in the streets and so if you see me maybe I will approach you and be like "Hello" and put a microphone in your face. That's just a heads-up.
Aminatou: That's awesome. I will not be at the women's march but I will be following in solidarity.
Ann: I support that. We're going to need a lot of people who are warm and not in the streets. [Laughs] Who are doing all sorts of other things.
Aminatou: Yeah, I'll be in Park City watching these at the Sundance Festival. [Laughs]
Ann: You mean controlling the future of pop culture?
Aminatou: That's right. So there's actually a march in Park City in solidarity that I will be checking out, but if for some reason you are like me in Park City checking out movies, holler at your girl because, you know, it'll be fun. I'm not going to lie, I'm feeling a little bit of fomo around the march just because so many of my lady friends are going but at the same time I'm just like, you know, I need to do this for myself so I will remove myself from all protests. [Laughs] Until further notice.
Ann: I understand. I also think, to be totally frank, I'm like white women have a lot to account for. I don't think that -- I mean, listen, I am happy to have the march be representative and inclusive for sure but I think that there is a stronger imperative depending on how much privilege you have to show up in person.
Aminatou: Like this is very true. I'm glad that you're saying it and not me because you know that my whole New Year's resolution is watch how much work the white women do to see before I join in.
Ann: Totally. I actually think it's totally fair that I should be in the street and you should maybe have your feet before a fire in Park City. I'm like that is actually . . .
Ann: Like, you know, if that . . .
Aminatou: I'll send you ski selfies.
Ann: Oh my god, please do.
Aminatou: You know, but like I'm super excited that you're going. I'm really excited that so many of our friends and our listeners will be there. People have been so engaged, especially in the weeks leading up to it. That's been really encouraging to me. And I think that, you know, no matter what it is going to make a huge impact because the whole world's going to be watching and it's also so important to stake your claim really early on. It's not even like first day of the new administration, and for them to know that women mean business.
Ann: Right. And I know for me on a personal level I went to the 2004 women's march against George W. Bush.
Aminatou: Aw, baby feminist.
Ann: I know, and it was like a very . . . I have to say that it was a very foundational experience for me early in my political wakening to be physically in a space with a lot of really cool women who also wanted to change things. And so I'm thinking about that as well, you know, going to get reenergized for myself, going because it might be some other woman's first large-scale activist experience and knowing how powerful that is. I'm actually really, really excited not thinking of it as a protest or a show of resistance and more of like a show of resilience and something that's going to shore us up for future actions.
Aminatou: Yeah, and such a powerful recruiting tool. I don't know, actions like this are never things that I can get cynical about because I think that you're right, so many of us, we kind of find our voice and we find a lot of strength in being in these kinds of gatherings. They're so important, like at whatever stage of your feminist progress you're on whether it's like baby feminist days or you're just like a grizzled, old, bitter lady like me. [Laughs] God, I identify so much as like a way feminism. That's really what it is. That's why I feel like I'm older than I am. I don't know, I think that it's so important to gather together and just be angry together and be hopeful together and just meet other people. You know how we don't believe in networking at this thing, but you will meet people who care as much as you do or care more than you do and you will feel so empowered being around them.
Ann: And yeah, we wanted to learn a little bit more about the march and how it came to be and what's going to happen there and so we have a few of the women who are part of the awesome team that's doing all the organizing here with us to talk about it.
Aminatou: Yeah, we talked to Sarah Sophie Flicker and Tabitha St. Bernard. Hi, everyone.
Sarah: Hi. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Everyone's being so shy in the studio. It's very funny. Can you please both introduce yourselves and tell us who you are in relation to the women's march as well?
Tabitha: My name is Tabitha St. Bernard Jacobs and I am the youth initiative coordinator for the women's march on Washington. And in my real life I'm a fashion designer.
Sarah: I'm Sarah Sophie Flicker. I keep forgetting my title at the women's march on Washington. [Laughter] I'm on the national organizing committee. I basically think that I'm a vacuum filler. I've worked on social media, on partnerships, on artist outreach, with Tabitha on the youth initiative, and I've been tasked with the fun job of what the heck are we marching in?
Tabitha: Yeah, I'm excited to see.
Sarah: It's so fun.
Aminatou: This is exciting. Well, Sarah, I've known you since before this interview so it's been really exciting to just watch the planning come together and how much more amplified everything has become. But can you kind of walk us through what the process has been? I think that for a lot of people who are just sitting at home, and me included, we just didn't know what the specifics of the march were. It was like the election happened, despair, and then next thing we knew we were all going to DC but it was really unclear.
Sarah: And how many stages of . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, it was really unclear and I think there's been also a lot of both misinformation and assumptions from people who just did not have correct information. So can you just kind of quickly walk us through how the march has evolved from this very raw day after the election to this really robust organizing machine that we have now in so little time?
Sarah: Sure. And Tabitha, jump in. The night of the election I think a woman in Hawaii posted on Facebook that she thought women should march on Washington the day after the inauguration. Bob Bland who is a woman who is one of our cochairs also posted it and maybe another woman did. They woke up the next day and it was all over Facebook and I think it was something wild like in a few hours, 10,000 people . . .
Sarah: They did an event page, right? On Facebook. 10,000 people had signed up by the end of the day of the 9th. I mean I remember watching it and it was in the hundred thousand digits of people at least. These three initial women were white women -- they put it up -- and they put the Lincoln Memorial as the place to watch. I think probably within a few hours of it going up a bunch of people who are in the activist space saw the post, realized they didn't recognize any of the names necessarily. So all I know is that on November 9th I was in Philly. I had mobilized 200 people to get out to vote. I was in my hotel room with my daughter trying to explain to her what the heck just happened, and I get this call from Michael Scholnick (?) who I don't know if he's a friend of the podcast but he should be. He is an amazing movement builder, organizer, just kick-ass guy.
And he called me and he said you need to lead right now. And I think he called everybody he could think of who had any sort of leadership skills and said "We need you to lead right now." So Michael also flagged that he didn't recognize any of these women and put them in contact with Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour who are all really notable movement builders, activists, organizers, and have organized marches -- really successful marches.
So within a few days the three of them had met with Bob Bland who was one of the initial founders of the march and they had joined forces and then just started reaching out to all their teams and networks. And I'm fairly certain that I was emailing with them on like day six maybe and I know specifically Tamika and Linda from other activist and organizing activities. And so I just joined in with them and Paola Mendoza who is also one of the national organizers.
Aminatou: Yeah, thank you so much for laying that out. I think it was really important because one of the huge pieces of folklore that is out there was the march was organized by all white women. And I know I have heard Tamika at least say that within 72 hours of the march being started that they had been contacted.
Sarah: They were on it, right.
Aminatou: And that they have been on it.
Sarah: Yeah, and the thing I left out is they are three very notable activists and women of color.
Aminatou: Yeah, who have been protesting and marching for years and have been organizing in the community. So I think that at least for me as a complete civilian and somebody who is not actually used to protesting it was really encouraging and it felt like it was very authentic conversation in the way that that happened and it felt like it was really intentional in the way they were trying to steer that.
Sarah: The whole process has been incredibly intentional and I think the really beautiful thing about it is just because of the nature of its origin and Bob really recognizing immediately that women of color needed to lead the way on this march in light of the fact that feminism has often failed women of color. But in closer proximity, you know, the 53% of white women that voted Republican.
Ann: One thing that I have really been encouraged by as well is the ways that the whole team organizing the march has engaged with this dialogue as well. I mean I didn't totally love the way the conversation was characterized in the New York Times article but in terms of what I have come across, dialogue between people I know, videos, and back-and-forths that have been shared, I've been really heartened by that. I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about being intentional about those conversations and beyond just who is organizing this, like the ways that you're thinking about inclusivity and intersectionality.
Tabitha: Yeah, I think from the very beginning -- I came on on the second day. Bob and I are friends from the fashion world and from the very beginning there was this rumor that it was a white feminist thing. And I know her personally and I know that wasn't her intention, so I started to sort of get engaged on Facebook and there was a lot of anger I think in the beginning because of this. And I think we needed to get on there and say to people this anger is coming from somewhere and it needs to be validated and it needs to be discussed. We had a lot of complaints from women of color who were saying they were shut down, that their posts were being taken off, and it was very . . . we really wanted to find a space for that conversation to happen, because it needs to happen. I think that if we pretend it's not important that that's not helping anything. And I think it's been super important to say that we need to find ways to hear everybody's voices as much as possible. So we've been very intentional in terms of engaging with organizations that are very diverse.
I have been on calls with women of color organizations and we've been wanting to hear where we could improve and what we could be doing better with them. So the entire process has been super intentional even in the organizations that we've been partnering with as well.
Sarah: This is Sarah Sophie. I would just add I didn't love the framing of that New York Times piece either but the thing that I find heartening is just the word when it comes to this march. I feel like I love it -- you just said that, Ann -- because it's been the word I've been using as well. I've been working in the feminist space for over 20 years and this is by far the most intersectional women's moment I've ever had. And I feel like -- we're calling them courageous conversations. I feel like just by the nature of, you know, the lead-up to the election, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, all of it, the breakdown of who ended up voting in the election and then the genesis of this march has not even forced us. It's just intentionally created these courageous conversations.
And so they're playing out in real time as we're organizing. When you see the program at the rally you will see how intersectional and intentional it is. I mean that is the focus of everything we're doing right now. I as a feminist understand the failings of feminism. We had Gloria Steinem in the office yesterday. Gloria was just breaking some shit down and she was like listen . . .
Aminatou: She knows.
Sarah: She knows.
Sarah: She said if it's white feminism then it's not feminism.
Sarah: And that's correct, you know? I think the thing that gets swept under the carpet sometimes is women are over 50% of the population. There is no issue that isn't a woman's issue.
Ann: So I'm wondering to that end, you know, you mentioned this idea of what is a women's issue? Or the idea that every set of women's issues are very different. I'm wondering if there is a specific policy set of asks or demands that are, you know, more directed by the organizing committee, or a slate of this is why we're in the streets. Have you thought about doing that or does it exist?
Sarah: It's funny you should mention it, Ann, because -- so we have what we're calling tables. Our policy table is comprised of . . . it's about 15 to 20 experts in all the various fields and we will be marching with policy points and demands. Everything from the obvious reproductive justice, criminal justice reform, paid family leave, immigration reform, you know, advocating for families to stay together to Islamophobia. That's just to touch on a few. You just start to see how they all intersect and how, you know, we've just got to take every woman with us when we smash the patriarchy. I feel like Roxane Gay said that so I'm just going to give it to her.
Aminatou: Is the organizing committee going to share these with people before the march so that we -- because I know the website has been kind of the place to go for everything.
Sarah: Mm-hmm, womensmarch.com. Yes, it will be shared on the website and there will be a press release hopefully this week.
Aminatou: So let's say that you are . . . it's like now you know what the march is about. You're super energized. You bought you plane ticket to DC. You already know who you're crashing with. You've known that since November 9th. What are the next things? So you need people to go on the website. Is there an official place to RSVP so everybody knows who you are?
Sarah: Yes. Yes.
Aminatou: What's the marching 101? How do you stay when you're on the ground?
Tabitha: We have an Event Brite and we're asking everybody to go on there just so we can get a pretty good idea of how many people are coming.
Aminatou: How many do you have right now?
Tabitha: I would say we have about close to 200,000, would you say Sara Sophie?
Sarah: Yeah, so the womensmarch.com page is always being updated. There's a bus registry which is uber important. Everybody needs to register their buses, and once you register your buses they will tell you where you're parking and give you all the information you need about that.
Aminatou: The buses are for people who are organizing their own transportation to the march, correct?
Aminatou: Okay. And is there -- if you do not have a way to get to the march, is there also a place to figure that out, to organize with people? Or to self-organize?
Tabitha: Well the states are also self-organizing on their own. So at this point if you don't have a way to get to DC I think the best bet would be to connect with the state admins and see if there are any seats on any buses. And if you're in DC it's also pretty easy to get there. On my end we've been really encouraging teams who are in DC to get to the march as well as much as possible.
Sarah: I mean I would say if at this point you don't know how you're getting there, yeah, go to Facebook state pages and give a shout out to some buses. But also if you are planning on driving, parking in a neighboring suburb would be the way to go and take the Metro in.
Tabitha: And I've also been hearing people say you should buy your Metro pass beforehand.
Sarah: Oh, I keep meaning to do that.
Aminatou: Yes, you can order them online. Former DC resident here. [Laughs]
Sarah: I need to get that going for myself.
Tabitha: Does it come in the mail for you?
Aminatou: It comes in the mail, but they're pretty easy to buy too. I just wouldn't buy them close to the march. And then the other question I have is for people who cannot make the march, what's the deal with all the New York City marches and all the regional ones that are happening? Are they all affiliated with the women's march? Or are they just like expressions of solidarity? In other places I think that's the main question that I've gotten a lot from a lot of people and it's been really kind of confusing to suss out what the deal is.
Tabitha: Some of them -- they're all in solidarity with our march. They're marching with us. It's great for the cities that are further away like Cali and so forth for those people who cant make it to the march to be able to go to like a local march. But we are asking people from New York as much as possible if you can make it to DC to please make it to DC because we need as many people there as possible.
Aminatou: Ann, what do you think? [Laughs]
Ann: I mean I'm just wondering if there's anything that we're missing out on or anything that's really important to you guys as you're organizing or any needs you have. You know, for someone listening to this who wants to chip in with a variety of skills, what are the asks that you're sort of putting out right now?
Sarah: I mean our number one ask is of course go to the donate page on Facebook or on the website and donate even if it's five bucks if you can do it because we are fundraising for everything from port-a-potties, hopefully hand warmers, we'll see, for us. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Can I say something? This is why it's really important that people RSVP. I think people don't understand this. It's like for every new 50,000 that RSVP that means more of everything. So people need more money . . .
Tabitha: Yes, more port-a-potties.
Aminatou: They need more port-a-potties, they need more jumbotrons, they need more everything.
Tabitha: Get your name on there. Yes.
Aminatou: Be kind. RSVP. And if you can afford to, give some money.
Sarah: I mean we're all volunteering and working around the clock and it's been a great joy but I know that there's a lot of things that we're skimping on and we could use the help. There is a volunteer signup on the website so if you have a skill, volunteer it. We might reach out. We've been reaching out to all sorts of folks. We have a hashtag #whyimarch and you can make a video, give a shout out to what you're marching for, who you're marching for, what it means to you to watch, and you can throw it up on your social media page. And if you tag #whyimarch and women's march we will like it and we will also try to post it if we can, if it's really great. And what else? We want men to march.
Sarah: We want men to know. This is an all are welcome march. Men are welcome. Gender non-conforming. Of course everyone is welcome. And kids are welcome but that is a personal choice that you have to make.
Tabitha: Right. Right.
Sarah: I'm bringing my kids. I have three.
Aminatou: Your kids have been to more marches than I can dream of.
Sarah: It's true. It's true, they'd be pissed if I didn't bring them. They'd be like "You went and marched without me?"
Tabitha: We do have a parents page on Facebook so we're trying to put up information that's relevant to parents bringing their kids. But we are advising them to think about everything if you're bringing your kids, especially the younger ones. Think about like the weather and the stuff that you want to pack for the kids like snacks and so forth and diapers and that sort of thing. But think of it as like a mass event, like if you're going to a huge football game or something like that I would say.
Sarah: But we're not encouraging big bags.
Tabitha: Yeah, right.
Sarah: Wear a fanny pack.
Tabitha: They're cute. They're coming back.
Sarah: I know. I have one.
Tabitha: I saw Rihanna in a fanny pack.
Aminatou: Fanny packs are back. Ann, maybe merch for next quarter?
Ann: Oh my god, a fanny pack? A CYG fanny pack? Yes.
Tabitha: Ooh, yes.
Aminatou: A CYG bag for protesting and clubbing.
Sarah: Yeah, you could have a handle on it to hook a water bottle.
Ann: Yes. I love that.
Aminatou: That would be perfect. Well this has been really enlightening. I'm really excited for the CYG crew that will be out protesting. Be safe, have fun, be really angry, find all your people, and meet excellent people while you're out there.
Sarah: I know, this is what the movement's all about. I keep quoting Hamilton by mistake and I didn't even realize it but this is not just a moment; this is a movement, you guys. Come on. Get out there. Show up en masse and let this be the biggest rally/march/counter we're not calling it a protest -- counter-action that the first day of any administration has ever seen. Let's do it.
Aminatou: That's awesome. And the website is womensmarch.com.
Sarah: And we're at @womensmarch on Instagram and Twitter.
Aminatou: And the hashtag is #whyimarch.
Sarah: #womensmarch, #whyimarch.
Tabitha: And hashtag #womensmarchwednesday.
Ann: And thank you for all your hard work in planning this. I will see you both in DC.
Sarah: I can't wait. Come and find us, Ann.
Ann: You can find us many places on the Internet including our website callyourgirlfriend.com. You can download this podcast anywhere you like to listen to podcasts or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us or find us on Instagram at @callyrgf or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're also on Facebook. Look it up. You can leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac with an assist from Argo Studios.
Aminatou: Thanks, Paul!
Ann: Thanks Paul.
Aminatou: I've got fake friends reading fake news to me, straight up to my face.
Aminatou: That's like all I've been thinking about ever since he said you are fake news.
Ann: Bye. See you on the Internet.
Aminatou: Bye. See you on the Internet, booboo.