Published Jan 10, 2018 Updated Jan 28, 2021, 12:19 am CST
Attendees wearing black to President Donald Trump‘s State of the Union address later this month won’t do so in mourning of his first year in office. Instead, Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier is inviting Congress to wear black attire in an effort to show solidarity with the months-long #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment and assault.
According to the Hill, the Democratic Women’s Working Group, encompassing all female House members, is inviting both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, men and women, to wear black. So far, Speier says, support for the attire is high.
“This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it,” Speier told the Hill in a statement.
This past weekend, Golden Globe Awards attendees, celebrities and invited activists alike, also wore black, signaling solidarity with the ending of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and many others.
The move for black attire at a Trump event is also pointed in that the president himself has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least 19 women and has been recorded on tape bragging about kissing and grabbing women “by the pussy” without consent. Nearly 60 Democratic female lawmakers advocated for the launch of a congressional investigation into the allegations, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have asked Trump to resign.
However, Speier has also made some controversial comments about who can be harassed. In November, she said that she doesn’t believe sexual harassment can take place between Congress members, and that women being harassed in Congress are “allowing” it to happen.
“I think the women in Congress are big girls,” Speier said. “The equalizer that exists in Congress that doesn’t exist in other settings is that we all get paid the same amount and we all have a vote, the same vote. So if you have members that are demeaning you it’s because you’re letting them.”