What happened these last two weeks? A woman traumatized by sexual assault, who carefully rebuilt her life with strength, bravery, and intelligence, relives her trauma before millions for love of the country and her sense of civic duty. And a power structure—that doesn’t necessarily disbelieve the woman but instead, far worse, just doesn’t care—rushes to elevate one of their own to the highest court. The striking contrast between the two witnesses in credibility and temperament, and the obvious need for a thorough investigation, are ignored in a desperate sprint to end the proceedings. This was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s fear before going into the process—that she would suffer all the pain and not change the result.
But that is emphatically NOT the message that we take from the events of the Judge Brett Kavanaugh hearings. We take from Dr. Ford a message of courage and determination. These are bleak days, and Judge Kavanaugh’s elevation hurts like hell, but we understand that social movements do not just leap from victory to victory until they cross the finish line. Quite the opposite, in fact. Civil rights of any kind are always won the hard way, with painful losses that always seem more visible and more numerous than the wins. But progress is not won from the top down. And the history of human rights is not made by the leaders; it is made by the people in their millions, suffering, losing, marching, arguing bitterly over family dinner tables, raising uncomfortable conversations on campuses and in workplaces, waking up hearts and minds, going to court, proposing legislation, and of course voting.
Dr. Blasey Ford has certainly suffered, but she has not lost. She has started millions of conversations, touched millions of hearts, and changed the world in ways she probably, right now, can’t imagine. It is ironic that Dr. Blasey Ford, as a scientist, clearly values what can be measured and predicted—because there is no way to measure or predict the countless ways in which her heroic example will move people to action in years to come. We trust that a fairer world is in our future, and if we can, we will help to make it so.
Students who support this letter
Kelly Amorim, Alex-Marie Baez, Brittani Bushman, Gabriella Cavanagh
Olivia Cox, Megan Crandall, Ashley Dunbar, Jake Eisland, Kimberley M. Felton
Jessica N. Haller, Theresa Hotte, Kristen Ippolito, Alicia Johnson
Elena I. Kilcullen, Mary Ann Krisa, Mehtasim Mahfuz, Katherine Martinez
Robert McQueen, Elizabeth Murad, Kevin Nelson, Alexandrea Nuwer
Bryan O’Keefe, Shannon Owens, Kirsten (Kris) Paap, Ph.d., Jon Pritchard
Angelica Rivera, Delaney Rives Knapp, Victoria A. Soracco, Gloria Sprague
Allee von Stackelberg, Avery Sullivan, Emily Vaculik, Candace White
Faculty who support this letter
Vincent M. Bonventre, Raymond H. Brescia, Christine Sgarlata Chung
Stephen Clark, Jaya Connors, Danshera Cords, Anthony Paul Farley
Mary A. Lynch, Nancy M. Maurer, Connie Mayer, Sarah F. Rogerson