This week, many people protested to eradicate power dynamics that enhance the subordination of marginalized communities through physical appearances, performances, and legislation. Solidarity was a big theme in this week’s wins, as people stood up for both themselves and for those whose voices are often ignored.
Time’s Up and #MeToo at the Grammys
On Sunday night, artists arrived at the Grammys with white roses pinned on their outfits in a show of support for the Me Too movement and Time’s Up, and to expose the gendered inequalities in the music industry. The presence of white roses was organized by the group Voices in Entertainment to indicate those in solidarity for the increase of women’s representation in the workplace, diversity in leadership, and a sexual assault-free society.
Kesha’s performance of “Praying,” joined by the Resistance Revival Chorus, Cindy Lauper, Camila Cabello, and Julia Michaels was the most powerful performance of the night and amplified the need for Time’s Up and the Me Too movement. When introducing the performance, Janelle Monáe said: “To those who dare try to silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up… Time’s up for the abuse of power.”
The House and Senate pass bill to protect athletes from sexual abuse
On Tuesday night, the Senate passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act, which will require mandatory reporting of sexual abuse to law enforcement or social services within 24 hours mandatory for anyone in sports organizations. This bill ensures easier and safer ways to report sexual abuse, and requires extensive training for those in athletics in order to uphold stringent child abuse prevention and detection standards. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill a week after former Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Senate rejects 20-week abortion ban
The Senate voted 51-46 against passing the bill that would have banned abortion procedures after 20 weeks in all 50 states. The bill was highly supported by the Trump Administration, and President Trump even urged the Senate to pass the law and “send it to my desk for signing” at the annual March for Life on January 19. The bill was created around the mythology that fetuses are able to feel pain after 20 weeks, and it would have criminalized physicians who perform an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is the third time a 20-week abortion ban bill has been blocked by the Senate.
Protesting the State of the Union through clothing
Political powers protested President Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address for a multitude of reasons, including fighting for sexual violence and against racial and gender inequality. Members of Congress portrayed their dedication to fight for equality and safety in the workplace by wearing Time’s Up pins. Others wore red “Recy” pins to honor Recy Taylor and challenge ongoing racism and sexism in the U.S. Democratic women also wore African Kente cloths to protest President Trump’s racist comments about African countries and Haiti.
The State of OUR Union
On the same night as President Trump’s State of the Union address, 500 women from across the U.S. gathered in Washington, D.C. for a different address, dubbed the State of Our Union. Women leaders spoke of a new, inclusive vision for the U.S. at the event, including the hope to unite individuals from across all races, genders, religions, and industries. The State of Our Union was organized by a variety of groups including Color of Change, the Women’s March, Girls for Gender Equity, and People’s Action. Many lawmakers attended the State of Our Union rather than the Presidential State of the Union Address, including Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “We will use the occasion to focus on the State of OUR union, our opposition to his agenda, and we will lift a progressive and inclusive vision of our country,” said Congresswoman Jayapal in a statement.