Leadership

Why thousands joined today's #BelieveSurvivors walkout in support of Brett Kavanaugh's accusers

Demonstrators protest against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court Justice outside of the office of US Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 24, 2018. 
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators protest against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court Justice outside of the office of US Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 24, 2018. 

They wore black and walked out.

At 1 p.m. on Monday, people across the U.S. took to the streets and social media in support of a national walkout organized by anti-sexual harassment group #TimesUp. The event was planned in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, women who have both accused Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. He denies the allegations.

Advocacy groups encouraged supporters to wear black, leave their workplaces and use the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors on social media posts. The Facebook event shared by Tarana Burke, the #MeToo movement founder, had more than 20,000 participants.

Some professors at Yale Law School cancelled classes on Monday to let students protest the Kavanaugh hearing, according to Campus Reform. More than 100 students traveled from the campus in New Haven, Connecticut, to Washington, D.C., to protest at the Capitol building. (Kavanaugh graduated from Yale Law School, and one of the alleged assaults supposedly occurred when he was a student there.)

Many others showed their support by crowding public squares and government buildings.

Hundreds of protesters rally in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda while demonstrating against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Hundreds of people from half a dozen progressive organizations, including students from Yale University Law School, protested on Capitol Hill for a #BelieveSurvivors Walkout against Judge Kavanaugh, who has been accused by at least two women of sexual assault. 
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Hundreds of protesters rally in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda while demonstrating against the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Hundreds of people from half a dozen progressive organizations, including students from Yale University Law School, protested on Capitol Hill for a #BelieveSurvivors Walkout against Judge Kavanaugh, who has been accused by at least two women of sexual assault. 

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards walked out with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown in Cleveland.

Other supporters included prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities who walked out or posted photos of themselves wearing black for solidarity.

CNBC Make It, hitting the streets of New York's Manhattan, did not find celebrities or swarms of protesters but could not miss the many women in all black who were passionate about the cause.

Janet Mahoney
Abigail Hess
Janet Mahoney

Many, such as Janet Mahoney, identified as survivors of sexual harassment themselves. "Listen to us," Mahoney said. "Listen to the voice of women. Just because something happened 35 years ago doesn't mean that you can't stand up and listen to us."

Melissa Peeples
Abigail Hess
Melissa Peeples

Others asked for understanding for what survivors endure when they tell their stories. "It'd be nice if people would look at the statistics of what it takes for someone to come forward before having an opinion on something that might have an impact on other survivors, myself included," said Melissa Peeples, who wore a "F---k the patriarchy" pin on the left collar of her shirt.