Today is a day we won’t forget.
Today is a milestone in the #MeToo movement. We were prepared to say that regardless of the verdict in the Harvey Weinstein case, there is no turning back from the movement to believe and support survivors and to hold both individuals and institutions to account. While no workplace, industry, or community is immune from the culture of violence, the #MeToo movement calls upon all of us to acknowledge and address the disproportionate – and often invisible – impact on women and girls of color. (See statement from our national partners at RALIANCE.)
Yet, the dismissal of the serious charge of predatory sexual assault begs these questions: how many and what will it take for survivors to be believed? For systems to respond appropriately? For effective efforts to prevent sexual assault to be implemented across every sector and in every community?
Today is also a milestone in this country’s dehumanization of immigrants who come to this country for many reasons – including to escape gender-based violence – and are being told that they are not wanted, that their lives do not matter. As the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule change goes into effect today, there is a lot of confusion about who will be impacted, what benefits will no longer be available, and who is eligible for green cards. (Find resources and updates from our partners at MIRA.)
One thing is clear: much like the Nuremberg Race Laws in Germany in 1935, the intent of the new public charge rule is to change the face of who is welcomed in the United States by excluding working class and poor immigrants and to create fear for everyone else.
These two issues will be forever linked because the actions taken on February 24, 2020 reflect what we know from the experiences of countless survivors: the power structures that dehumanize survivors and attack their credibility are the same that seek to criminalize and dehumanize immigrants. To those who experience sexual assault and for those who are immigrants to this country, we say this: we see you, we believe you, and we will never stop fighting for your rights.
Please join us in this work. We need you.