The first national convention by the organizers of the DC Women's March will be held in Detroit starting Oct. 27, but there's already a bit of turmoil over one of the scheduled speakers. The Washington Post reports that Bernie Sanders is set to make remarks on opening day of the three-day Women's Convention, with the Vermont senator writing on Facebook he's "honored to join the women at the front lines of our struggle for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice." But some think that, at a convention dedicated to women's issues and rights, those front lines should be reserved for women only (at least when it comes to prime podium time), and they're grumbling about a selection they don't think should have been made in the first place. "This choice sends the wrong message," tweeted the head of the Emily's List PAC, one of the convention's sponsors.
There's even a Change.org petition seeking to remove Sanders as an opening-day speaker, while still acknowledging he's been a "[long-time] champion for progressive values" for which women are "grateful." But Tamika D. Mallory, one of the event's organizers, points out on Twitter that Sanders—just one of two men among the 60-plus scheduled speakers—isn't the day's headliner (Rep. Maxine Waters is), and she points out to the Detroit Free Press that Sanders is an expert activist mobilizer. As for why someone like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or even Hillary Clinton wasn't helping to lead opening-day honors, Mallory adds in a statement that "many elected officials" were invited, but that their schedules didn't permit them to attend, per CNN.