Standing with Survivors, Standing for Justice

By  Originally published in Between The Lines Newspaper October 3, 2018

The stories are all different, but they are the same.

The family friend or member who comes into the bedroom at night. The uncle, grandparent or friend who touches inappropriately with a hug. The boys who cop a feel in the hallway. The “nice” guy who after a few beers forgot that “No means No.”
It’s the jokes that aren’t funny. The lingering looks. The promise of employment if you comply and unemployment if you don’t. It’s harassment, intimidation, abuse and rape whether it happened yesterday or decades ago.
I can’t tell you the date, where the house was or how I got from there to the bus stop to home, but I remember that face, I remember the fear I felt from his anger when I fought back and said no. I said nothing.
As I listened to the reporting before the hearing and watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee I remembered all the feelings, all the reasons I said nothing. I remembered.
I believed Anita Hill in 1991! I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford! I believe Deborah Ramirez! I believe Julie Swetnick. I believe survivors!
Like so many other women, I have been triggered by these proceedings, but more than triggered I am enraged.
Men have exercised the right to rape, assault and harass women, with no recourse, accountability or consequence not just because of patriarchy but also, in part, because we, as a society, have cosigned these actions by slut-shaming, stigmatizing and promoting silence.
We must be “good” girls while “boys will be boys” just “sowing their wild outs.” And even when they admit to sexual assault, bragging in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women and grabbing women by their genitals, the remarks are called “locker room banter” and the perpetrator of these acts can go on to become president of the United States.
The Supreme Court is the final judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all — the Constitution. Its decisions have shaped much of the world we know today.
Brown v. Board of Education ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. The Court’s Roe v. Wade decision changed laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission dealt with regulation of political campaign spending by organizations and the Obergefell v. Hodges decision ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.
Decisions made by the Supreme Court are always of national importance. In fact, “equal justice under Law” is its motto, but there was little justice in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings this week with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who was accused of sexual assault by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
And Dr. Ford’s courageous decision to step forward and speak about her own experience of sexual assault is not the only accusation against Judge Kavanaugh. Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick have also come forward. It also comes in the wake of the thousands of women speaking out against sexual harassment and violence with the #MeToo movement.
Kavanaugh’s nomination took a step forward, as the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Kavanaugh in an 11-10 party-line vote. The eleven being the all white, male republican members of the committee – score one for the patriarchy.
So, here’s where we stand: After a brief one-week FBI investigation the vote goes before the Senate. Eleven white men with a greater allegiance to party than to the people they represent, especially women, have moved forward the nomination Kavanaugh.
In his remarks, Kavanaugh basically declared himself pure as the proverbially-driven snow and, by his account, a candidate for sainthood for his exemplary life, with a testimony filled with tears, barbs and vitriol displaying a temperament no one should want to see on the highest court of the land. But, if confirmed as he stands to be now, the man we saw testifying would sit on the Supreme Court making decisions affecting all of us for decades and we have been triggered by these proceedings. We know the tremendous strength it takes to speak our truths and fight for our survival.
And now, more than ever, we must do just that, speak our truths and fight not just for our survival but for our daughters, our children and their future
. In a few short weeks before the midterm elections and moving forward we must tell our stories, no matter how long ago they occurred. Because these occurrences are not brand-new and they need to end.
We must remind our sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, friends and neighbors. We must remind them of the times they saw but chose not to see. We must remind them of the beliefs, stigmas and cultural influences that have allowed the violation of women’s bodies, and the bodies of femmes and gender non-conforming people. We must remind them of the politicians’ efforts to silence survivors. We must remember the courage of Ford and take our anger to the polls in November.
I believe Anita Hill! I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford! I believe Deborah Ramirez! I believe Julie Swetnick!
I BELIEVE SURVIVORS!

Leave a comment

Interview with The Care Plan

Caregiving can be both challenging and rewarding. Working with an organization like The Care Plan can help reduce the stress and help you savor the moments.

Leave a comment

My Speech at Great Lakes Bay Pride Awards Banquet 2018

Leave a comment

Poetic Tribute from 2018 Esteem Awards

Leave a comment

Women’s March/Rally Ann Arbor, MI 2018 Speech

The 2018 Women’s March/Rally in Ann Arbor, MI was phenomenal. Many asked for the text of my speech. Well Here you are

Women’s March/Rally Ann Arbor, MI 2018 Speech by Michelle Elizabeth Brown 01/20/2018

Hello Ann Arbor!

Here we are one year later STILL standing in solidarity for the America we believe in.

An America hijacked a year ago, when a toxic orange cloud settled over our nation’s capital.

Most days it feels like common decency is under siege as Republicans use their almost overwhelming political power to paralyze our dreams for our communities.

It no longer, even remotely feels like a government of, for and by the people but a renegade government operating under its own agenda.

From day one, it’s been about turning back the hands of time for women, the LGBTQ community, workers, immigrants, education, the environment, you name it.

Making America great, not for the majority of us, but for the same minority that continues to hold all the wealth.

Almost every morning we wake up to another blast of presidential tirades from an over-night twitter storm that’s regurgitated all day by 45’s band of clueless henchmen and women.

He’s a stable genius alright but apparently that stable never got cleaned and its full of muck!

The travel ban, the transgender ban in the military, his nuclear pissing contest with North Korea, putting the nation’s education system in the hands of the most unqualified secretary of education in history, continued attacks on healthcare even for children, appointing a climate-change doubter to head the EPA – like the song goes “We’re living in bad conditions.”

2017 was a hard year!!

But I continue to look for the best of times, the best in people, the best in possible outcomes and I’ve seen it in the faces of women, students and everyday people.

Last year across the country we marched together, our children in tow, not JUST in protest of the election but for the protection of all we hold dear.

We still believe the greatness of this country lies in its diversity, inclusion and equality for everyone – all of the huddled masses whether born here, brought here as children or immigrating here. We are all yearning to breathe free.

We continue to resist and it’s our women leading the charge.

Thousands came to the Women’s Convention planning strategies and actions to “reclaim” our time.

Women in office are speaking out and holding their male political counterparts to task. And we have even more women thinking about and running for office.

Women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community were elected to office across the country in record numbers last November.

And despite the President’s endorsement, Alabama’s Roy Moore, was defeated. An election which saw a large turnout from voters, especially Black women.

The #Metoo movement has finally put the spotlight on sexual assault, harassment, and JUST BAD BEHAVIOR. It’s time we call out the occupant of White House for his actions.

In her Golden Globe acceptance speech Oprah Winfrey talked about a new day on the horizon! A new day finally dawning because of a lot of magnificent women.

She was speaking to the women in that room, but I say it is because of the magnificent women – Black, White, Brown, of all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientation and gender identity as well as many men standing together strong!

We say to The White House, McConnell, Ryan and the Grand Old Party of Prevaricators, Predators, Perverts, and Phonies – Your time is up!

We say to the Dem’s, we are watching you too. Hear our voices! Do your job and open the doors for OUR NEW IDEAS AND this new wave of women joining your ranks.

And finally, to our dear confused sisters who continue to vote against their own best interest, if you can’t VOTE for yourself vote for your daughters, your granddaughters, those little girls born every day who will live under the choices you make. Wake up and STAY WOKE!!

So I’m going to ask you – Whose time is this?

THIS TIME IS OURS!!!!

Now let’s grab them by the midterms and take our power to the polls!!

Leave a comment