The Women's Convention traditionally focuses on uplifting and empowering women, particularly women of color. Because of that, it struck some people as controversial that they would invite a white male to be one of the key speakers. The white male in question, Senator Bernie Sanders, was announced as one of the speakers last week and faced some serious backlash almost immediately.
To have a man open a women’s convention is absolutely a disgrace. I’m embarrassed for you.— roxane gay (@rgay) October 12, 2017
Seeing this white man (even if his campaign didn't hurt Hillary's vote count) as the face of the convention really feels like a gut punch.— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) October 12, 2017
No. Just no to Sanders grandstanding on issues he has never taken a stand for in front of people he has consistently failed to represent.— Megs (@MegMegsMeggie09) October 12, 2017
It's hard to believe there wasn't a single high-profile woman available to open the convention. Many women think @SenSanders is partly responsible for Trump's election, the reason for our 1st march. You are telling them they don't matter. Is this really a women's movement? 2/2— mindyanns (@HealthyPetChef) October 12, 2017
That the convention organizers chose a man to be the opening speaker at this important conference is so tone deaf it's beyond me. That they chose someone so polarizing among feminists is appalling. This isn't a criticism of Bernie. It's a criticism of those who made this call.— Cheryl Strayed (@CherylStrayed) October 12, 2017
The organizers of the convention have since apologized for what they are brushing off as a misunderstanding. According to them, the event has no official keynote speaker and Bernie Sanders is merely a participant like every other speaker. They do have a featured speaker in Rep. Maxine Waters, though Sanders will deliver the first speech, a spot that is traditionally seen as they keynote and most important.