Laverne Cox, Gloria Allred, Connie Britton to Speak at L.A. Women's March

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Connie Britton at the 2018 Women's March LA

Amid a controversy surrounding its Washington, D.C., sister march, the Los Angeles march is taking pains to point out it is a separate organization.

The Women's March LA is set to bring a starry lineup to downtown on Saturday even as controversy consumes Women's March, Inc., a separate organization that organizes a march in Washington, D.C.

The Los Angeles march, which will begin at Pershing Square at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, will feature speakers including Connie Britton, Gloria Allred, Laverne Cox, Adam Rippon, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA), Sarah Hyland and Nicole Richie. Also scheduled to attend are Ingrid Michaelson, Ricki Lake, Rosanna Arquette, Aloe Blacc and Lauren Jauregui.

Among the local figures anticipated to attend are Sen. Maria Elena Durazo; L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis; L.A. City Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Monica Rodriguez; West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath; State Assemblymember Wendy Carillo; National Council of Jewish Women LA executive director Marjorie Gilberg; ACLU Southern California's exectuive director Hector Villagara; California Latinas for Reproductive Justice executive director Laura Jimenez; Black Women for Wellness program manager Nourbese Flint; LA County Women and Girl’s Initiative executive director Abbe Land; and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles. 

"It’s been a tumultuous year and we are marching to show our elected representatives that we are holding them accountable for every imprint they make on our democracy," the Women's March LA said in a statement. "Women are rebuilding our democracy to once again represent We The People, one marcher at a time. Our democratic system only works when we participate and when we hold politicians accountable."

Though the L.A. march's lineup was changing as of Friday, the organization is taking steps to differentiate itself from Women's March, Inc., a separate organization whose national chairs have been accused of anti-Semitism and mismanagement.

"We are aware of the recent concern about the perceived support of Louis Farrakhan, whose statements about Jewish, queer and trans people are not aligned with the Women's March Unity Principles. Women's March LA (WMLA) strongly denounces these statements and recognizes the pain they have caused for the Jewish and LGBTQIA+ communities," the WMLA website states.

Talent has also spoken out on their participation in WMLA. “I am proud to be associated with the Women’s March LA which has been instrumental in creating positive changes within our community," Adam Rippon said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Anytime that we can stand together and support inclusivity and acceptance for all is a good thing. It’s unfortunate that the controversy surrounding Women’s March Inc. has cast a negative shadow on the other Women’s Marches but it’s important to recognize that Women’s March LA is an independent group with its own leadership. If we allow the negative impact from the Womens’ March Inc. controversy taint the good works that the other women’s marches are doing all around the country, then we will lose our momentum. With the 2020 presidential election looming, it’s more important now than ever that we stand together and let our voices be heard. We need to let our government leaders know that we are holding them accountable and we need to continue to fight for equal rights for all."

Last February, CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper unearthed Instagram posts made by Women's March, Inc. co-chair Tamika Mallory at a speech of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, where Farrakhan made multiple anti-Semitic statements. In a December longform story in Jewish magazine Tablet, reporters further alleged that Mallory and board member Carmen Perez had made anti-Semitic statements on more than one occasion.

In a USA Today op-ed posted Friday, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote that she would be sitting out the Washington, D.C. Women's March as a result of the revelations and attending a local march. "I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate," Schultz wrote.

Women's March L.A. has been a star-packed event since its first iteration in 2017, which saw Jane Fonda, Laverne Cox, Debbie Allen, Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande attend. Last year, Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong'o, Alison Janney, Laura Dern, Mary Steenburgen and Elizabeth Banks were all on hand at Pershing Square. In aggregate, the 2017 and 2018 L.A. marches attracted over 1.5 million people.

Saturday's program is set to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the march itself beginning at 10 a.m. at the intersection of 6th and Hill streets downtown. Those who can't attend can follow the march at @wmnsmarchla on Twitter and Instagram and on the event's Facebook page.