Senator Elizabeth Warren, we at The Tempest want to thank you.
Yesterday, we could hardly believe the news that Senate Republicans voted to formally silence you for reading out a letter by Martin Luther King’s widow, Coretta Scott King at the confirmation hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions. In the letter, written in 1986, King protested Sessions’ nomination to be a federal judge. She wrote:
“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office [U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Alabama] to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Mr. Sessions’ conduct as US Attorney, from his politically-motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws, indicated that he lacks the temperament, fairness and judgement to be a federal judge.”
The letter is damning, demonstrating in detail the actions Sessions took to deliberately deny black people their right to vote.
It ends: “Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect not only on the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago. I therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny his confirmation.”
More than 30 years later, we find ourselves in the same position in regards to Sessions, only this time, the stakes are even higher. Sessions has a record of racism and homophobia, and he is poised to be responsible for upholding the civil rights of our most threatened citizens nationwide.
In a world that teaches diverse women to be small and quiet, we at The Tempest have cheered you on as you have continued to fight Sessions’ nomination, speaking truth to power.
When we have felt powerless against the stifling misogyny and racism that has drenched public discourse, you have stood up in our name. Thank you for consistently fighting our right to live in a country where we are safe, valued and heard.
Thank you for consistently fighting our right to live in a country where we are safe, valued and heard.
Thank you for not caring how palatable your words are to the people who would seek to trample on the most vulnerable members of this society.
Americans are facing an administration that seeks to dismantle the ideals so many people fought, struggled, and died for. At a time when Trump’s administration demands that we go along with their obvious lies, perhaps Senator Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators believe that we the people will accept ignorance and fear. Instead of fear, you have chosen defiance.
Instead of fear, you have chosen defiance.
You have stood steadfast, speaking out in a sea of lawmakers who have chosen to dance politely around Session’s record. We have no interest in our leaders being polite about the threat of bigotry. It’s frankly not appropriate from where we stand to respond to brutal, systematic injustice with endless patience and by engaging with false moral relativism.
Silence in the face of injustice is the same as complicity, and your colleagues in the Senate have made clear that they are willing to stand by while the progress we’ve made towards equality is dismantled.
Coretta Scott King once said, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”
You, Senator, have inspired us to continue to earn our freedom, to struggle in the face of inequality, misogyny, and bigotry. This generation of intersectional feminist dissidents will not back down, we will not be deterred, and we will not be silenced.
This generation of intersectional feminist dissidents will not back down, we will not be deterred, and we will not be silenced.
We stand with you, as you have stood with us for the past five years.
People across this country are looking at you today and they see an American leader who dares to defend the rights of all people regardless of race, gender, sexuality, faith or immigration status.
We have our rallying cry. We will carry it on our lips and in our hearts as we continue to demand justice.
“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Nadia Eldemerdash (Managing Editor), Laila Alawa (Founder & CEO), Mashal Waqar (Co-founder & CTO), Katherine Kaestner (Writer), & The Tempest team