A sea of pink hats will once a­gain de­scend on the State Capitol on Sat­ur­day as Min­ne­so­tans gather to pro­mote e­qual rights and pro­gres­sive caus­es at the third annu­al Women's March.

The Minnesota rally, part of a na­tion­al "Women's Wave" day of ac­tion, comes at a time of fresh scru­ti­ny for the move­ment, which sprung up in re­sponse to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's e­lec­tion.

Women's March Inc., the nonprofit spear­head­ing the na­tion­al move­ment, is weathering crit­i­cism amid claims of mis­man­age­ment and that several of its high-pro­file co-chairs have ex­press­ed or en­dorsed anti-Se­mit­ic views.

Some local activists want Women's March Min­ne­so­ta to con­demn the leaders or of­fi­cial­ly sever ties with the na­tion­al arm, as more than a doz­en local chap­ters have done. The controversy is already dampening enthusiasm among some past supporters.

Su­san Minsberg said the 2017 march in­spired her to go be­yond her own po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ism. But she is sitting out this year af­ter watch­ing a seg­ment on "The View" in which na­tion­al Women's March co-President Tamika Mallory de­clined to con­demn past hate­ful re­marks by Na­tion of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan.

"I think we need to call her out, but they won't call her out," said Minsberg, who is Jew­ish. "They say it's not our job, but whose job is it?"

Or­gan­iz­ers of this year's Min­ne­so­ta march, which is co­or­di­nat­ed by a local non­prof­it that op­er­ates in­de­pend­ent­ly of the na­tion­al group, say they re­main fo­cused on "cele­brat­ing women's lead­er­ship and the suc­cess of get­ting women elect­ed" in 2019.

"We're build­ing on that mo­men­tum and com­muni­ty spir­it from when ev­er­y­one [first] came to­gether," said Jammi Han­sen Blair, chairwoman of Women's March Min­ne­so­ta. "We re­al­ly think that we have been part of this broad­er move­ment in get­ting peo­ple more ac­tive and par­tici­pat­ing in their gov­ern­ment."

The first Women's March, held the day af­ter Trump's in­au­gu­ra­tion, in­spired a wave of po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ism and en­er­gy a­mong fe­male can­di­dates and voters on the left. Millions turned out for march­es across the coun­try, mak­ing the 2017 gath­er­ing one of the larg­est pro­tests in U.S. his­to­ry. But the recent con­tro­ver­sy has dominated in the weeks lead­ing up to the march­es.

Promi­nent form­er back­ers, in­clud­ing the Democratic National Committee, the Southern Pov­er­ty Law Center and EMILY's List, severed ties with the na­tion­al march.

Locally, high-pro­file groups in­clud­ing Education Min­ne­so­ta, NAACP Minneapolis and the local Planned Par­ent­hood chap­ter re­main as spon­sors.

This year's event will lack some of the political firepower of past marches.

Just one mem­ber of the state's con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is sched­uled to ad­dress the crowd. Staff for sev­er­al oth­er Democratic of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Lt. Gov. Peg­gy Flan­a­gan and House Speaker Me­lis­sa Hortman, said they will be on the Iron Range attending the funeral for former DFL legislator Tom Rukavina.

Han­sen Blair is trying to distance the local march from the national controversy, say­ing local lead­ers are "dis­ap­point­ed that these con­ver­sa­tions have tak­en away from the im­port­ant work that's be­ing done." She add­ed that local lead­er­ship will "be re-ev­alu­at­ing who we are af­fili­at­ed with" mov­ing for­ward but did not pro­vide a timeline. The chapter has also issued several statements condemning bigoted and hateful speech.

Ra­chael Jo­seph, an ad­vo­cate for gun vi­o­lence sur­viv­ors, said that as a Jew­ish woman, she de­cid­ed to at­tend this year's march af­ter con­ver­sations with local ac­tiv­ists.

"What I ap­pre­ci­ate the most is they are will­ing to have the dia­logue," said Jo­seph of Min­ne­ap­olis. "They em­brace dis­sent­ing voic­es, hear peo­ple out and they grow and change from that."

But some Republicans say local organizers are not seizing the moment to express opposition to anti-Semitic views.

"It's deep­ly con­cern­ing the Min­ne­so­ta Women's March re­fuses to de­nounce the ob­vi­ous­ly anti-Se­mit­ic na­tion­al Women's March Inc. and is still af­fili­at­ed with this rac­ist or­gan­i­za­tion," said Sen. Mi­chelle Benson, R-Ham Lake.

Han­sen Blair urged current and former supporters to embrace the larger mission. "Un­less we re­al­ly do come to­gether, real change doesn't get made," she said.

Torey Van Oot • 651-925-5049