This past Saturday (Jan. 19), women, men and children from all around the country marched to advocate for human rights, civil liberties, and change in America. The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) was a proud supporter of the 2019 Women’s Marches in Los Angeles and Orange County.

An estimated 200,000 people joined the match in downtown Los Angeles, which began in Pershing Square and ended at Grant Park. More than 20,000 participants marched in Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County.

CAIR-LA Civil Rights Managing Attorney Marwa Rifahie was a featured speaker at the Los Angeles event. In her remarks, Rifahie called upon marchers and supporters to unite in a common goal of fighting inequality among women nationwide:

“As a Muslim woman, I have repeatedly witnessed the attempts to rob Muslim women of their agency and voices. Often this is done through Islamophobic stereotypes, such as labeling all Muslims anti-Semitic and then forcing us to prove otherwise. It is time to leave the divisive rhetoric behind and instead ask us for our stories and opinions of the injustices we seek to eradicate.

“We must support intersectional feminism and take a stand against imperial feminism. We cannot support feminist missions to educate girls around the world while failing to advocate against war and violence from our own nations that murder and deny the same girls of a right to live. Most importantly we cannot stifle the agency of Muslim women under the guise of “feminism.” We cannot silence each other. We must be the uplifting, unrelenting voices that defend women’s rights and combat racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, transphobia, homophobia, and xenophobia. Most importantly, we must use our intersectional feminism to dismantle white supremacy and reject the discriminatory policies our so-called President wishes to inflict on us.”

CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush marched with the CAIR-LA contingent in Orange County.

“We were proud to stand with our sisters and brothers in support of justice for all people, no matter what color, nationality, ethnicity or religious group,” Ayloush said. “As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. astutely stated injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

CAIR-LA is committed to combating Islamophobia and discrimination. We have and will continue to use our voice to protect civil liberties and build allies with communities to promote mutual understanding.