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A Radical New Plan for MeToo Turns Away From “Law and Order” Feminism

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Not long after Brett Kavanaugh landed a lifetime gig on the Supreme Court, Mónica Ramírez started thinking about what it would take to make survivors of sexual violence into a political force to be reckoned with. The founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women, Ramírez had worked with survivors for much of her career; after the #MeToo hashtag went viral she’d penned an open letter to Hollywood actresses on behalf of female farmworkers, helping spark the Time’s Up movement against workplace discrimination and harassment.

But looking back in the middle of 2019, Ramírez felt that not enough had changed after #MeToo became a phenomenon. Survivors had told their stories and shared their pain, but politicians responded with little more than platitudes. “We heard all of this talk,” Ramírez says. “What we didn’t see was the passage of laws to make things better for survivors.”

She sent a memo to a group of prominent advocates she calls her “sisters in the work”: Fatima Goss Graves, the president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center; Ai-jen Poo, the cofounder and executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; and Tarana Burke, the racial and gender justice activist who founded the original “me too.” Movement in 2006 to organize survivors, especially women and girls of color. “What would it look like if we really figured out how to position survivors as a voting bloc?” Ramírez recalls asking them.

That fall, the four women launched the hashtag #MeTooVoter in an effort to get Democratic presidential candidates talking about what they would do for survivors. It may have worked: In November, NBC News’ Kristen Welker asked former Vice President Joe Biden about it at a debate in Atlanta. “We have to just change the culture, period, and keep punching at it and punching at it and punching at it,” Biden said. “It’s a gigantic issue.”

But the organizers had much bigger ambitions than making #MeToo a debate talking point. “We’ve already driven so much change in our culture on these issues,” Burke said during a virtual summit for survivors last month. “Now it’s time to drive change in our policies and politics.” At that event, they released the “Survivors’ Agenda,” a sweeping vision for the political future of the movement against sexual violence. Crafted with input from dozens of organizations and a survey of more than 1,100 survivors, it calls for broad changes to federal, state, and local laws as well as policy changes and cultural shifts inside schools and corporations. Among its demands are a nationwide mandate for comprehensive sex ed, guaranteed mental health care coverage, and boosts in pay and protections for workers vulnerable to sexual harassment. And........

© Mother Jones

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