By Arriana Belkin and Anna Crawford, on behalf of the Colorado 16
One year ago, a cohort of sixteen activists from Colorado traveled 1690 miles across the country to visit Senator Cory Gardner in his Washington D.C. office and urge him to vote no on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our diverse group ranged in age, background, and experience, but shared one common goal – to bring awareness to and eliminate sexual harassment, assault, and violence against all genders and to protect civil liberties through political advocacy and education.
After seven hours of waiting in the hallway outside Gardner’s D.C. office, and after dozens of emails and phone calls from our friends and allies in Colorado to the senator’s staff, we were finally granted a meeting with Senator Gardner himself. While this may not seem extraordinary, Senator Gardner is infamous for avoiding his constituents – he has not held a public town hall in over a year and 4 months.
Many members of our group shared personal stories of sexual assault with Senator Gardner and his team while asking our elected official to not allow a man who is accused of sexual assault to be appointed to one of the highest positions of power in the country. Unsurprisingly, Senator Gardner turned his back on sexual assault survivors in his state and across the nation when he proudly cast a ‘yes’ vote in support of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.
Here we are a year later, our group is bonded by strength, resilience, and power. Another accusation against the Supreme Court Justice has surfaced and we call on our Senator to listen to his constituents and put survivors first. This is not a partisan issue – this is about envisioning a future where all individuals are empowered and supported to create informed and consensual interactions.
We are looking to Senator Gardner to do the right thing and stand with survivors by holding Justice Kavanaugh accountable for his abusive and non-consensual actions. Sexual violence must always be taken seriously. This is not and should not be a partisan issue.
Senator Gardner, we ask you to formally request an in-depth FBI investigation into the new allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. As a justice to the highest court in the nation, and with the power to make decisions about the entire country’s rights and civil liberties, we urge the senator to take these allegations as seriously as the position of power that Kavanaugh has been granted. We are looking to Gardner to look beyond party lines and take a stand on behalf of his constituents and sexual assault survivors across the country.
The 16 of us sat in the Senate gallery on October 5th and we will never forget how Senator Gardner turned his back on us and his constituents in 2018 by voting to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We refuse to be silent as he attempts to do so again.
Senator Gardner, your constituents deserve better.