On Saturday, the United States Senate confirmed Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court — a position he will hold for the rest of his life.
That decision was deafening, telling us that despite protests and national outcry, our officials are comfortable appointing a man accused of sexual assault to the most powerful position in our criminal and civil justice systems.
This whole news cycle has left us exhausted and feeling defeated. At Temple, we’re grappling with power imbalances and our own narrative of sexual assault and accountability — from Bill Cosby, who was recently jailed for sexually assaulting a former Temple employee while working as a trustee, to Ari Goldstein, the former president of Temple’s chapter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, who is awaiting trial for two separate sets of charges of sexual assault.
Kavanaugh was not held accountable for his actions, and the fact that the majority of our senators voted him into this position of power sends a disappointing message about our country’s apathy toward sexual assault allegations.
Kavanaugh will most certainly have a say in issues regarding sexual assault and women’s rights. But he’ll also have a say in issues that impact even more students and residents in the North Philadelphia community.
He could rule on issues like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or affirmative action. The Supreme Court’s decisions trickle down to us and have an immense impact on our daily lives.
That’s why students and North Philadelphia residents need to continue to mobilize and fight to create a community where we know we’re represented and protected.
Join marches like the March to End Rape Culture. Participate in events like the National School Walkout to End Gun Violence. Look to student leaders like Tyler Lum, who has protested in Washington, D.C. for Dreamers.
Keep having important conversations, even though Kavanaugh is confirmed. We can’t let the resistance end with Sunday’s vote. In fact, it should bring about more dialogue and drive people to the polls on Nov. 6.
We should take comfort in the 20 professors from the Beasley School of Law who signed a letter with thousands of other law school professors to take a stand and say they don’t support Kavanaugh’s appointment. These people are fighting for us on our level.
Make sure you’re prepared to vote in the midterms and every election that comes after, whether it’s here in Philadelphia or not.
It’s difficult for us to look at the future of our country and see much to hope for. But there’s plenty we can do now, within our communities, to create a place that we’re proud to be a part of. Get involved, stand up for what you believe in and don’t back down.