Sexual Assault Survivors, Allies to Demand Senators Oppose Supreme Court Nominee

 
WASHINGTON — Sexual assault survivors and activists from Alaska, Nebraska, West Virginia, Colorado, and Maine will descend on Capitol Hill Thursday, to share their stories directly with senators and join the call for their senators to vote “no” on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
 
Advocates will meet with the offices of Sens. Deb Fischer, Cory Gardner, Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore Capito, Ben Sasse, with more than 100 Alaskans who flying in to meet with the offices of Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. As part of their participation in the day of action organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and partner organizations, the activists will also participate in a rally at 12:30 pm today where recording artist Milck is expected to perform. Activists will march from Brett Kavanaugh’s current courthouse, the US Court of Appeals, to the Supreme Court.
 
“Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in a courageous act of civic duty, came forward and told her members of Congress about her sexual assault at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh,” said Jodie Morgenson, a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska. “Now it’s my turn to fulfill my civic duty and urge Senators Fischer and Sasse to not let Dr. Ford’s voice, and the voices of many more women like her, go silenced.”
 
Thursday’s activities are part of an ongoing advocacy campaign that includes nearly 30,000 constituent calls to senators urging opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination; a rally in Boston that drew thousands of activists for Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) visit to the city; and grassroots organizing from ACLU affiliates nationwide. The campaign also includes a seven-figure TV ad buy in Nebraska, Colorado, West Virginia, and Alaska with spots running through the end of the week.
 
“Together, the power of the people saved health care protections for women, won the net neutrality vote in the Senate, initiated the Mueller probe, and held Trump accountable for his family separation crisis,” said ACLU national political director Faiz Shakir. “These same people are now joining forces to demand their senators stop the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. If senators fail them here, America will remember in November.”
 
The national campaign comes after the ACLU’s national board took the extraordinary step of suspending its organizational policy of not supporting or opposing candidates for political or judicial office, choosing to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination. The board’s decision marks the fourth time in the organization’s 98-year history that it has chosen to oppose a nominee to the Supreme Court. Most recently, the organization did not endorse or oppose the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
 
“Standing against sexual assault isn’t partisan,” said Shakir. “We, like the vast majority of Americans, worry about what this nomination will do to the administration of justice in this country. Senators should be concerned as well.”
 
 
The Nebraska delegation includes women from Lincoln, Omaha, Greater Nebraska, experienced professionals and students. To connect with one of the 25 courageous and patriotic Nebraska survivors who are visiting Senator Fischer and Senator Sasse’s offices today, please contact ACLU of Nebraska Communications Director: huhing@aclunebraska.org
 
CONTACT:
Abdullah Hasan, ahasan@aclu.org , 646-905-8879
Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@aclu.org, 201-919-0333

 

Date

Friday, October 5, 2018 - 12:30pm

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By Daniela Rincon, communications intern at ACLU of Nebraska 
 
Ideas are powerful. That’s why intellectual freedom is protected by the First Amendment—and it's also why sometimes government tries to suppress provocative ideas.
 
For nearly 100 years on the national level, and over 50 years in Nebraska, the ACLU has fought to make sure Americans have full access to ideas and the right to read what they want. Despite our many victories, there are still to this day misguided attempts to ban books. This fight came close to home when a book by beloved Nebraska author Rainbow Rowell was the recent subject of censorship attempts for her award-winning young adult novel Eleanor & Park.
 
The book is a love story set in Omaha that deals frankly with poverty, bullying, domestic abuse and racism. Eleanora redhead struggling with body-image issues and an abusive stepfathermeets Park, a biracial boy who feels like a misfit and has a passion for comic books. The two high school students unexpectedly fall in love while riding the school bus.  
 
Despite its portrayal of real problems that today’s teenagers face, the young-adult novel has been challenged by schools, mostly under the guise of “offensive language.” 
 
“There is a lot of it,” author Rainbow Rowell said in an interview with The Toast, “but it’s so bizarre to me that they’re objecting to the cursing because Eleanor and Park themselves almost never swear. I’m not anti-profanity, personally, but I use profanity in the book to show how vulgar and sometimes violent the characters’ worlds are.” 
 
Rowell’s honest and captivating portrayals have also sparkled parental complaints regarding sexual language. After a group of librarians included Eleanor & Park in their high school summer reading program, two parents partnering with the Parents Action League convinced the library board to remove the book due to its “dangerously obscene” content. Several anti-censorship advocates got involved in the fight. 
 
The issue was hotly debated and the board eventually concluded that the book was “powerful, realistic and honest, but not profane,” and kept it on library shelves. The ordeal was quite a surprise to the author, who based the story on her personal experiences. 
 
"When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible. That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isn’t even fit for good people’s ears. That ugly thing cancels out everything beautiful," Rowell had said.   
 
Last year, Rowell went on to write Kindred Spirits, an ebook from which she donated all proceeds to the ACLU of Nebraska to support our work to defend rights guaranteed by our Constitutionincluding free expression and academic freedom under the First Amendment.
 
In recognition of her contribution of more than $10,000 donated from this project and for her body of work as a journalist and activist, the ACLU of Nebraska awarded our annual Defender of the Bill of Rights Award to Rainbow Rowell this summer. 
 
At the award ceremony, Rowell said, "Once you start paying attention to the ACLU, you realize they never stop. I started to see the ACLU as this group of people who have been there defending my rights when I wasn't paying attention to them." 
 
ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said, “We are so pleased to be able to thank Rainbow for her generous support of our mission to protect freedom of speech, and as a fangirl of her work, it was a particular honor to grant her this award."
 
Rainbow’s experience is a telling example of how vigilant we all must be to protect the First Amendment rights provided by our Constitution. It cannot be up to some of us to decide what the rest of us can read. Authors are free to write books they want to write, and we all are free to read them if we wish.
 
Rainbow

Date

Friday, September 28, 2018 - 1:45pm

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