Tamika Mallory, one of the co-founders of the Women's March, told the Free Press that Sanders was "probably one of the most powerful US senators" on the progressive issues that the Women's March movement stands for. "He is really in line with the principles of the Women's March". The response on Twitter to the news that Sanders, a white man who has in the past endorsed pro-life candidates, had been selected was overwhelmingly negative.
In its statement, the Women's March also emphasized that more than 60 women - including Waters, United We Dream's Greisa Martinez, and Our Revolution's Nina Turner - are going to speak prominently at the convention.
Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing on Thursday emerged as a vocal critic of Sanders' pick, questioning the organizers' reluctance to choose a prominent female leader for the job. Officials with the organization wouldn't confirm if any of the Democratic women had been first invited as the opening-night speaker, as Sanders appears to have been.
'Now more than ever, we must support the leadership of women across the country and fight together to advance our progressive agenda, ' he told the Free Press.
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Of the 39 speakers chosen for the conference, only two are men, including Sanders.
Several Twitter users simply expressed their disappointment with Sander's planned participation. I know Sanders recognizes his privilege, but he's still a man.
As the firestorm over Senator Sanders continued spreading on social media throughout the afternoon, the Women's Convention put out a statement on its Instagram page, suggesting that the organizers' hand was forced, in part, by scheduling conflicts. Maxine Waters, D-California, and Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan. "So we can know what we need to do to be able organize".
But the choice of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the lead speaker at the convention has sparked criticism from commentators, who suggested that a woman should have opened the event.
"Detroit is a handsome city, full of historical and political significance, and a multitude of lived experiences - a flawless setting for women, femmes and our allies seeking to strengthen our growing, intersectional movement", the organizer's wrote on its website.
The event still secured many high-profile women leaders for the weekend of October 27. The event will be held at Cobo Center.