April Baskin, Yavilah McCoy, Abby Stein: Judaism Unbound Episode 155 - The Women’s March

April Baskin, Yavilah McCoy, and Abby Stein, the three Jewish members of The Women’s March steering committee, [1] join Dan Libenson and Lex Rofeberg for a conversation about intersectionality, coalition-building, and embodiment — and how all three of those key concepts served a key role in the success of the second annual Women’s March.

Image Credit: Jill Peltzman

Image Credit: Jill Peltzman

(0:01 - 12:22): To begin the episode, McCoy and Stein outline the intersectional approach of the Women’s March Steering Committee, and how that approach plays a key role in how the march manifests. McCoy adds to this, arguing that the work of intersectionality is not merely to gather different kinds of people in a space, but to really internalize the ways in which various forms of oppression intersect. [2] In order to achieve that (embodiment) she calls for increased relationship-building across boundaries of difference.

Image Credit: ARQ

Image Credit: ARQ

(12:23 - 26:53): To further understand the values of the Women’s March, each of the three guests looks at each of the two pieces of its name — “Women’s” and “March.” [3] In particular, they name why there is a need, in particular, for a women-led movement in our society, and why that movement has unified through the modality of a march. Baskin speaks to the ways in which a march can help combat feelings of isolation, showing women that there are others out there who care deeply about the same issues that they do. Stein cites progress that has been made in the past century toward gender equality (for women, and for transgender people, in different ways), but calls on society to recognize in which there is so much work left to be done. McCoy asserts that social justice work must transcend the level of words and become fully conscious “in our kishkes” — deep within our bodies. Baskin also describes one of the most powerful moments of the march, when participants "parted like the sea” so that Jewish women of color could stand at the forefront of the entire movement.

(26:54 - 43:04): The guests look at the topic of coalition-building. In particular, they explore how and why it is so crucial, even and especially in moments when doing that is hard. [4] They look at some of the public discourse regarding leaders of the women’s march, and argue that both intra-communal healing (healing among Jews) and broader healing (around ways in which Jews and non-Jews are not always fully understanding one another) will be important parts of justice work moving forward. McCoy calls for a recognition that Jewish womanhood is represented in their bodies, and Baskin “sings from the rooftops” the need for continuing engagement despite forms of distraction and misinformation in the media. To close the episode, Stein implores listeners to familiarize themselves with the political goals endorsed by the Women’s March policy platform, entitled The Women’s Agenda. [5] [6]

Abby Stein Squarespace2.png

[1] Learn more about each of the three guests, by reading their bios on the Women’s March Steering Committee website: April Baskin, Yavilah McCoy, Abby Stein. You can also visit AprilBaskin.com, Yavilah McCoy’s Jewish Women’s Archive page, and this profile on Abby Stein in The New York Jewish Week.

[2] For a full presentation by McCoy on Intersectionality as a Jewish Practice, click here.

[3] Learn more about the Women’s March at WomensMarch.com.

[4] Baskin cites the work of Joy Degruy, and in particular the idea of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Learn more about it here.

[5] Take a look at the full Women’s Agenda platform at this link.

[6] For a few different pieces describing some of the debate about the Women’s March, see the following links: by Nylah Burton, in The Forward, by The Jewish Currents editorial board, and by Josefin Dolsten in JTA