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Please add your information and sign the petition below to show your support for improved treatment of Senator Kamala Harris by her colleagues in the Senate.
Dear Senator John McCain, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Mark Warner, and all White male members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:
As women, men, Black women, and women of color, and Americans, we are appalled by the treatment of Senator Kamala Harris on June 7, 2017 and June 13, 2017 during hearings of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (“Intelligence Committee”). During both hearings, as Senator Harris vigorously questioned witnesses, she was rudely interrupted by Senator John McCain. In both instances, her questioning was indistinct from that of her White male colleagues, except for her outstanding skills. As a guest of the Intelligence Committee, on both occasions, Senator McCain sought to usurp the role of the Chair to control the hearings by purposefully shouting at Senator Harris to stop her method of questioning. He never interrupted any male colleagues, several of whom were just as relentless in their questioning. Nor should the Chair have reinforced this bias by gaveling for her silence.
It is most disturbing that in the Senate, an institution known for its decorum among colleagues, that women have been singled out by their White male colleagues to be silenced while attempting to perform their roles. It is especially disturbing that Senator Harris, one of only four women of color out of 21 women in the Senate and the only woman of color on the Intelligence Committee, would be treated in such an indecorous and disrespectful manner. It is incumbent upon the Senate, which has been largely an all-White-male bastion for centuries, often perpetuating subordination of women and people of color through legislation, to actively take steps to prevent any display of misogynistic or racist behavior in the conduct of its affairs.
The voices of the women of the Senate are essential in these times to forging an inclusive American agenda. We, the voters, have purposefully elected women in the hopes that they will vigilantly represent our states and the national interest. Our expectations were not that they would become clones of the men in the Senate, but that they would, instead, give style and voice to the special perspectives and insights that their life experiences have endowed on them as women, including the intersectionality of being Black, Asian, Native American and Latina women. Instead of silencing women, the institution of the Senate must change to incorporate and amplify their voices.
White male senators must learn to reform their actions to accord women senators the respect, dignity, and authority consistent with their membership. These recent incidents speak to a brokenness within the institution which must be fixed by senators both Democratic and Republican. We urge that there be no further interruptions, interferences, and disrespect shown to Senator Harris, or any other woman senator, during the proceedings of the Senate.
Stay the gavel!
We, the American People, are watching!
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