Person

Teresa Shook

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Retired lawyer, activist

Known for:

Founder of Women’s March (No longer affiliated)

Teresa Anne Shook is a retired lawyer, from Maui, Hawaii[1] who has received credit for first proposing the “Women’s March on Washington” in opposition to the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017. [2]

In 2018, Shook criticized the leadership of the Women’s March organization over the group’s refusal to distance itself from the extremist anti-Jewish and anti-LGBT rhetoric of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. [3]

Founding of Women’s March

Teresa Shook is credited as being the first woman to call for a “women’s march” in Washington, D.C. in opposition to the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States in 2016. [4]

On November 8, 2016 Shook created a Facebook event page calling on her friends to march on Washington, D.C. in opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency. [5]

With help from left-of-center activist and millionaire Bob Bland, Shook’s original event page was merged with similar event pages prompted by Shook’s and synthesized into a large scale campaign. [6]

Bland, along with others, hired Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour to lead the Women’s March movement. [7]

Teresa Shook was not given an organizational role in the national Women’s March movement, though she did speak at the event. [8] However, she did hold a leadership role in supporting the local Hawaii branch of the Women’s March. [9]

Criticism of Women’s March Leadership

On November 19, 2018 Teresa Shook wrote a Facebook post criticizing the leadership of the Women’s March, including Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez. Speaking in her capacity as the founder of the movement, she accused all four co-chairs of “allow[ing] anti-Semitism, anti-LGBTQIA sentiment and hateful racist rhetoric to become part of the platform by refusing to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.” [10]

Shook’s reference to “hate groups” stemmed from the Women’s March leadership’s alignment with and refusal to reject Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, an organization classified by the left-of-center Southern Poverty Law Center as a black nationalist organization and hate group. [11] Farrakhan has a long track record of anti-Semitic[12] and anti-LGBT statements. [13]

The Women’s March leadership of Mallory, Sarsour, Bland, and Perez objected to Shook’s criticism, accusing her of “irresponsibly” intervening, stating that they will continue to focus on their work and not on “armchair critiques from those who want to take credit for our labor.” [14]

Post-2019 Activism

Shook was not an active participant in the 2019 Women’s March movement, in part because of a death in her family, but has now re-entered the political arena. [15] Shook most recently has scheduled to participate in a “Women Lead Spokane” event hosted by Gonzaga University, scheduled to take place on March 13, 2020. [16] Women Lead is an initiative of Gonzaga University’s School of Leadership Studies. [17]

References

  1. Davis, Chelsea. “Maui woman starts what could be largest Trump inauguration movement.” Hawaii News Now. January 6, 2017. Updated August 12, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. ^
  2. Woerner, Meridith. “Who started the march? One woman” Chicago Tribune. January 21, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/la-na-pol-womens-march-live-who-started-the-march-one-1485033621-htmlstory.html ^
  3. TeresaShookOfficial, “As Founder of The Women’s March” Facebook, November 19, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/TeresaShookOfficial/posts/2368957223146495, accessed January 12, 2020. ^
  4. Woerner, Meridith. “Who started the march? One woman” Chicago Tribune. January 21, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/la-na-pol-womens-march-live-who-started-the-march-one-1485033621-htmlstory.html ^
  5. Khan, Mattie. “The Women’s March On Washington: How It Came To Be And What You Need To Know” January 12, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.elle.com/culture/news/a42067/womens-march-on-washington-timeline-logistics/ ^
  6. Cusumano, Katherine. “The Women of the Women’s March: Meet the Activists Who Are Planning One of the Largest Demonstrations in American History” W Magazine. January 19, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.wmagazine.com/story/womens-march-on-washington-activists-organizers ^
  7. Cusumano, Katherine. “The Women of the Women’s March: Meet the Activists Who Are Planning One of the Largest Demonstrations in American History” W Magazine. January 19, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.wmagazine.com/story/womens-march-on-washington-activists-organizers ^
  8. Woerner, Meridith. “Who started the march? One woman” Chicago Tribune. January 21, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/la-na-pol-womens-march-live-who-started-the-march-one-1485033621-htmlstory.html ^
  9. Cusumano, Katherine. “The Women of the Women’s March: Meet the Activists Who Are Planning One of the Largest Demonstrations in American History” W Magazine. January 19, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.wmagazine.com/story/womens-march-on-washington-activists-organizers ^
  10. TeresaShookOfficial, “As Founder of The Women’s March” Facebook, November 19, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/TeresaShookOfficial/posts/2368957223146495, accessed January 12, 2020. ^
  11. “Louis Farrakhan” Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/louis-farrakhan ^
  12. Tatum, Sophia. “Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan delivers anti-Semitic speech” CNN. February 28, 2018. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/28/politics/louis-farrakhan-speech/index.html ^
  13. Lockhart, P.R. “Why Women’s March leaders are being accused of anti-Semitism” Vox. Updated March 8, 2018. Accessed January 12, 2020.  https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/3/7/17082030/womens-march-louis-farrakhan-tamika-mallory-anti-semitism-controversy ^
  14. Keller, Megan. “Women’s March founder calls for group’s leadership to step down” The Hill. November 19, 2018. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://thehill.com/homenews/news/417480-womens-march-founder-teresa-shook-calls-for-linda-sarsour-tamika-mallory-and ^
  15. Scozarro, Carrie. “Women’s March founder Teresa Shook shares her unlikely path to activism as she visits Spokane” Inlander. https://www.inlander.com/spokane/womens-march-founder-teresa-shook-shares-her-unlikely-path-to-political-activism-as-she-visits-spokane/Content?oid=16768175 ^
  16. Scozarro, Carrie. “Women’s March founder Teresa Shook shares her unlikely path to activism as she visits Spokane” Inlander. https://www.inlander.com/spokane/womens-march-founder-teresa-shook-shares-her-unlikely-path-to-political-activism-as-she-visits-spokane/Content?oid=16768175 ^
  17. “School of Leadership Studies” Gonzaga University. https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/departments/comprehensive-leadership-program ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Women’s March (National) (Non-profit)
    Initial Supporter
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