Rep. Jackie Speier from California attending the Women's March in 2017.


Representative invites Congress to wear black to Trump’s State of the Union address

It's an act of solidarity with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.


Samantha Grasso


Published Jan 10, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 5:16 am CDT

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.
For years, Speier has largely advocated against sexual harassment, sharing her own #MeToo account recently and also disclosing that two of her male colleagues in the House of Representatives have harassed or assaulted staffers themselves. She and colleagues have also introduced bipartisan legislation to restructure the process in which sexual harassment in Congress is reported and addressed in a more transparent manner.
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.”
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*First Published: Jan 10, 2018, 10:39 am CST