Photograph by Allyn Suzuki
On Sunday, August 26, 555 people gathered at the Civic Center in San Francisco for the Bay Area Rally of Unite For Justice, a national protest against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.
The program included a broad range of speakers and artists, many of whom represented organizations such as NextGen America and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL Pro-choice), which hosted the event. The program incorporated a variety of music throughout its duration.
The speakers voiced their concerns about Kavanaugh based on his stances against abortion, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), LGBTQ+ rights, and sustainability, to his view that presidents couldn’t be held to the same standards as ordinary people. While watching the program, the crowd held signs expressing similar sentiments to those of the speakers.
Maggie Thomas of NextGen America elaborated on these ideas. “If you’re a member of the LGBT community who wants to be recognized and treated as a human being, believe we have a right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable future, that every child has the right to a quality public education, and corporations shouldn’t be able to buy our elections, your rights are under attack,” said Thomas during her presentation.
“The affordable care act has kept our family financially solvent; as Megan’s medical bills eke towards fifteen million dollars, we are grateful for the ACA’s removal of lifetime insurance caps, we are grateful that Megan can stay on our insurance until she is 26 years old,” said Kristin Chaset of Little Lobbyists in her speech.
Chaset said that she believed that the Trump administration would “continue to dismantle the Affordable Care Act brick by brick, piece by piece, for nothing more than political cynicism.”
Chaset continued, “The lifetime appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court threatens the viability and the longevity of the Affordable Care Act to its core.”
Amy Everitt, director of NARAL Pro-choice California was a speaker at the event. Everitt said, “It’s one of two hundred happening in every state today.” Following this largest single-day protest of any Supreme Court nominee in history, “senators who have been avoiding their constituents… can understand how opposed America is to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court,” said Everitt.
In her speech, LGBTQ+ rights activist and speaker Rebecca Prozan suggested that Kavanaugh could possibly render the United States no different than it was decades or centuries ago for marginalized groups.
During her speech, District 13 Congresswoman Barbara Lee said, “Too much is at stake… we need you to call your senators… the path to victory starts in California… we need you to stay woke.”
Debbie Neigher, who performs under the name “Lapel,” presented a song she wrote called “Less Of A Woman.”
“I’ve waited my whole life to hear the message that my ability or desire to have children does not define my value as a woman. When I wasn’t hearing that message, I decided to write it myself in the form of that song,” Neigher said.
Among other organizations, Refuse Fascism Bay Area, Revolution Books, and Indivisible San Francisco also attended the event.
Refuse Fascism Organizer Barry Thornton said that he felt that the nomination of Kavanaugh for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court represented “a further important step in the consolidation of a fascist America.” Thornton said that Kavanaugh would accelerate the agenda of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and that people must “recognize that this is a fascist agenda.”
George Edward Conway, an Indivisible San Francisco volunteer, assisted people in registering and pre-register to vote while they were at the event.
In his speech, to address why he felt an event like this and his participation in it was necessary, Orson Aguilar of the Greenlining Institute said, “We do this for our kids… I already feel guilty that the President is President Trump, so we cannot let this happen.” Aguilar said that he didn’t want his children to look back on this day decades or years in the future and ask him why he had passively allowed Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court.