Hundreds gathered in at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Monday to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, hoping to get the attention of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who was slated to speak only a few yards away at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.
The protest, which started as a small student-led rally by organizers at Emerson College, quickly expanded to include the ACLU, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. It lasted several hours, with speakers directing most of their words toward Flake, who has said he would not vote for Kavanaugh if the FBI investigation reveals that the judge lied under oath.
Rally of assault survivors outside the gates of the Forbes conference in Boston today aimed at Sen. Jeff Flake, scheduled to speak (inside the gates) this morning. #Kavanaugh #msnbc pic.twitter.com/6WJ7I3o88a
— Kathleen Howley (@KK_Howley) October 1, 2018
“As I’m here in Boston today, I look over to here, to where Jeff Flake is and I say, Jeff Flake, please listen to us. Vote no on Brett Kavanaugh,” said Olympian Adam Rippon.
“As a woman of color, who has a platform, I have been asked to not come off as outraged or angry for fear of being labeled as an angry black woman,” said Massachusetts congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley. “Well, I am angry. And I am outraged because this is outrageous.”
‘I am outraged, because this is outrageous!’: Ayanna Pressley, presumptive future congresswoman, gives impassioned speech at anti-Kavanaugh rally as Sen. Jeff Flake visits Boston https://t.co/v7xRxVuDxG pic.twitter.com/D4LVgParOW
— NBC10 Boston (@NBC10Boston) October 1, 2018
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but the final floor vote has been delayed to allow for the FBI to investigate numerous allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
The investigation is expected to last no more than a week and will look into the “credible allegations against the nominee.” The Judiciary Committee had originally planned to rush Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday, but their plans were thwarted when Flake said he would only vote to advance the nomination out of committee if the FBI conducted an investigation.
Flake had announced early Friday morning that he would be voting in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination, but his change of heart was likely brought on as a result of a confrontation between the senator and two sexual assault survivors, who cornered him in a Senate elevator moments before the committee vote.
“I guess I want to say [to Sen. Flake], thank you for asking the question. But that’s your job,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D). “That’s your job to vet the nominee … That’s your job to get to the bottom of anybody who’s being appointed to the United States Supreme Court … They did nothing special last week. There’s nothing to thank them about.”
— Kristin LaFratta (@kristinlafratta) October 1, 2018
Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by three women. One of them, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, delivered an emotional testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, in which she described an incident in high school when Kavanaugh allegedly locked her in a room, pinned her on a bed, and groped her, while covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
“Sexual assault is not a crime of passion, it is about the abuse of power,” said New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, amid loud cheers from the crowd. “It is always women who are marginalized. It is the young. It is the interns. It is the immigrant. It is the trans. They are always most at risk because society listens to them the least. And that is why a man believes that an elite education, a high income, and his rich friends can get away with sexual assault.”
In an emotional speech at the end of the rally, Emerson College student and sexual assault survivor Annie Noel told the crowd, between tears, “All three of my assailants were people I knew, people I grew up with, and people I trusted. And while my story is not Dr. Ford’s, there are certainly elements that echo hers — a covered mouth, a Catholic all-boys high school with a cult of silence, and a confession that came too late. The way women and sexual assault survivors are treated in this country is unacceptable.”