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'I feel dismay': Demonstrators meet in Raleigh to protest Kavanaugh's nomination

Ruth Zalph, Raging Granny

Ruth Zalph, 88, has resently been arrested four times for demonstrations in Washington D.C. and was almost unable to attend Thursday's Stop Kavanaugh protest because of her most recent arrest. Zalph is a part of a group named the Raging Grannies who sing songs for women's rights. 

“Remember in November! Remember in November! Remember in November!”

That was just one of many chants that rang out in Raleigh, Thursday night, as a crowd gathered on Halifax Mall outside the North Carolina State Legislative Building to protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

Speakers from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Lillian’s List, among other groups denounced Kavanaugh’s stances on abortion and immigration, as well as his sexual assault allegations. 

“We did not see a protest in the Triangle that we could attend, so we decided to plan one ourselves,” Devon Roberts, protest organizer and Lillian's List program manager, said. “I think we just wanted to do something. We felt upset and enraged and wanted to take action.”

The organizers and sponsors of the event seemed pleased at the turnout and were encouraged by the crowd’s energy.

“We were really excited about all the people who came out,” said Molly Rivera, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of North Carolina. “That really shows the power of people coming together, standing together, speaking together and forming that community around our values.”

Protesters held signs displaying messages that said things like “I believe Christine,” “Unfit to serve” and “Believe survivors,” while alternating between cheering and booing in response to speeches and performances. 

“Many women have experiences of things they’ve never forgotten,” protester Terry Knight said. “He lied under oath. He’s going to lie about everything.”

Many other protestors expressed similar doubts.

“I feel dismay,” Beth Knight said. “Dismay that Senators Burr and Tillis are not listening to our concerns. There must be other candidates that don’t have a history of sexual assault that could be nominated to the bench instead.”

Sarah Preston is the executive director of Lillian’s List, an organization that trains progressive women to run for office. She echoed the sentiment of many other organizers, stating the protest was necessary to emphasize how threatened many people feel by Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“We really feel like women’s equity and reproductive freedom is on the line right now,” Preston said. “We needed to send a message to Senator Tillis and Senator Burr that we North Carolinians oppose this appointment.”

Whether Democrats will reverse the Republican majority on Congress will not be determined until November, but Kavanaugh’s fate could be decided much sooner with Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicating that a vote could be coming as soon as this weekend.

“None of the allegations have been corroborated by the 7th FBI investigation, not in the new FBI investigation, not anywhere,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. “I'll be proud to vote to advance this nomination tomorrow.”

Rivera said it is important for the protestors to stay engaged in the upcoming elections, regardless of Kavanaugh's confirmation.

"We’ll have to see how things unfold," Rivera said. "A lot could happen between now and then. We’re watching like everyone else.”


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