Sunday, December 17, 2017

Twitterverse notes irony of Bernie Sanders' opening speech at Women's Convention

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The first national women’s convention in four decades is poised to kick off in Detroit.
Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — A former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination was tapped Thursday as opening night speaker for the three-day Women’s Convention later this month.

But it’s not the woman you might be thinking of. It’s not a woman at all.

► Oct. 12: Bernie Sanders to deliver opening-night speech at Women’s Convention
► Sept. 29: Women’s Convention aims to ‘get real about fighting … oppression’

Co-founder Tamika Mallory of the Women’s March, which is organizing the Oct. 27-29 convention, touted Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as powerful “on progressive issues, women’s issues, mobilizing millennials.”

But not every woman — and even a man or two — is thrilled with the choice of a male being the key speaker on the first night of the first national Women’s Convention in 40 years.

Stephanie Schriock, president of pro-choice PAC EMILY’s List, which supports female Democratic candidates, also decried the decision, saying it sent “the wrong message to women everywhere.”

“Women are already leading in the United States Senate, and this is a moment where we have the opportunity to lift them up,” she said in a statement.

Not being a woman is beside the point, Mallory said.

“We believe as women … that we ought to have more than just women at the Women’s Convention,” she said.

Sanders brings experience as a long-time senator who continues to work to bring progressive change to government, Mallory said.

► Jan. 28: Women’s march activists, one week later, seek to build a movement
► Jan. 22: Women’s March movement: What’s next and can the momentum last?

“People want to hear from the leadership from within our government who can give us some insight about what’s happening … so we can know what we need to do to be able organize,” she said.

Other conference speakers include Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; CNN political commentator Sally Kohn; actress Amber Tamlyn; actress and producer Piper Perabo; and Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat and Michigan gubernatorial candidate.

Follow Brian Manzullo on Twitter: @BrianManzullo

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