Monday was a day we won’t forget.
February 24 was a milestone for #MeToo survivors, with a major verdict in the Harvey Weinstein case. We honor the survivors who came forward, those who tried but were turned away, and those who haven’t disclosed what happened to them. Today, there is no turning back from the movement to change the culture of violence. The #MeToo movement calls upon all of us to listen and form alliances with survivors—especially women of color, Native women, and trans people, who face the highest rates of abuse. In the words of #MeToo founder Tarana Burke:
“This case reminds us that sexual violence thrives on unchecked power and privilege. … Whether you are an office worker, a nanny, an assistant, a cook, a factory worker—we all have to deal with the spectre of sexual violence derailing our lives. And, though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say ‘me too.’”
February 24 was also a milestone in this country’s dehumanization of immigrant families, who come to this country for many reasons—including to escape sexual assault and domestic violence—only to be told that they aren’t wanted, that their lives do not matter. As the President’s Public Charge Rule change goes into effect, there is a lot of confusion. What we know is that the public charge rule will be devastating to survivors and families fleeing violence, and will lead to further harm. (Find resources and updates here.) Like the 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws in Germany, the intent of the new public charge rule is to change who is welcomed in the United States, and create fear.
These two issues will be forever linked because the actions taken on February 24, 2020 reflect what we know from the experiences of countless survivors: The power structures that dehumanize survivors and attack their credibility are the same that seek to dehumanize and criminalize immigrants seeking safety. To survivors of sexual violence and to immigrants to this country, we say this: We see you. We believe you. Together we join across our differences, so that all people can live and love freely, without fear.
Please join us in this work. We need you.