This Week in Women: The Sally Yates Slayage Edition
“I think it’s useless to be afraid, actually,” said Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina in an interview this week with The Guardian. “I believe that when you do things, when you decide an action, any fear goes away because action is stronger than fear.”
This week we saw women resisting and bringing much of the action to the judicial system from the epic testimony of the intrepid Sally Yates to a group of feminists fighting for justice at the University of Mary Washington. It’s time for This Week in Women!
The Badassery of Sally Yates
Who can forget the early 2017 developments around former acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to enforce Trump’s first travel ban? Thrust to the forefront of national attention, Yates embodied the spirit of American freedoms that people so desperately needed after the early onslaught of several Trumpian executive orders. This week, she appeared before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee to testify about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Before the Judiciary Committee, Yates was unflappable in her command of constitutional law and deadpan sensibilities with quips, such as, “You don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.”
In one particular exchange, Senator Ted Cruz tried to use her non-enforcement of the travel ban to insinuate a political prejudice. Cool as a cucumber, Yates countered every point with her own take down that left Cruz blustering and lit the internet on fire.
— Navah Wolfe (@navahw) May 8, 2017
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) May 8, 2017
— Laura (@SheWhoVotes) May 8, 2017
Feminist Group Goes After University
Five former University of Mary Washington students are looking for their day in court as they became targets of online harassment and anonymous bullying during the 2014 school year, stemming from their participation in a Feminists United student group.
“Due to this sexually hostile environment, Plaintiffs suffered emotional and psychological harm that, in some cases, required professional treatment,” the suit said. “By choosing to permit the harassment to go unaddressed and unpunished, and, thereafter, choosing to allow the escalated attacks to proceed without consequence, defendant UMW became liable for the acts of retaliation against the Plaintiffs and responsible for the clear and direct violation of the Plaintiffs’ rights under and pursuant to Title IX.”
This developing story sheds light on the blowback of activism and the routine negligence of college administrations across the country. With daily attacks by Trump on freedom of speech and expression, the need for colleges campuses to be held to high standards and protect their students is greater than ever.
Gloria Steinem’s Activism-Filled Commencement Address
On Tuesday, feminist icon Gloria Steinem presented as the keynote speaker at the School of Visual Arts’ 41st commencement address, emphasizing the partnership between activism and creativity.
“Now is a time of division, when a government and a president defeated by the popular vote—lost by three million votes, let’s remember,” said the 83-year-old political organizer and writer. “We are in a time of maximum change, on one hand great danger … and on another hand, we are woke. I have never in my life seen so much organic, sustained, enthusiastic, inventive, creative and fan-fucking-tastic activism as I do.”
Featured image via NY Times
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.