5C students attend Los Angeles #MeToo Survivors’ March

Marchers support the #MeToo movement. (Talia Bernstien • The Student Life)

Scripps Student Organizers, a group of approximately 20 Scripps College and 5C students interested in campus organizing, coordinated for 5C students to attend the #MeToo Survivors’ March in Los Angeles Nov. 10.

#MeToo March International is an “organization and movement of intersectional feminism for the 99 percent … dedicated [to] amplifying voices of survivors from marginalized and underserved communities,” according to their Facebook event “#MeToo Survivors’ March 2018.”

Scripps Student Organizers brought approximately eight 5C students to the rally, making up a sizable section of the 70 or so protesters at the event, organizer Antonia Capossela SC ’21 said.

Capossela felt that Scripps Student Organizers made a tangible impact by attending the rally.

“We were largely white women who went, and I think in that way we were physically moving our bodies and our privilege to try to bring more attention to these issues that aren’t in the mainstream of the #MeToo movement,” she said.

Capossela appreciated the intersectionality and effectiveness of the speakers who attended the rally.

“There was a whole panel of speakers who were all really incredible and [the rally] did a really good job of being incredibly intersectional,” Capossela said. “They had a disabled woman of color, farm workers from Mexico who came, and there were a bunch of different trans organizers who talked about their experiences in organizing and [being] in the #MeToo movement, and [the speakers] sort of tried to bring a more holistic view to the #MeToo movement.”

The march included speeches by TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year Sandra Pezqueda, Afghan-American social worker Madinah Wardak, and political strategist Jasmyne Cannick, along with several others, according to the Facebook event.

Gabby Ollig SC ’21 believes organizing is particularly important in today’s political climate.

“The moment that we’re at politically is a time where people’s voices really matter, in putting pressure, or showing that people have the ability to put pressure on the government and are watching what happens,” Ollig said.

Capossela spoke about wanting to break out of the Claremont bubble and make a larger impact by organizing in LA.

“[We wanted] to get 5C people to go outside into the real world,” Capossela said. “I think that part of our idea with that is to try to do something that can be recognized in a bigger way. There’s going to be a lot of other people there, and there’s already going to be publicity there, so what we do, the more people that we bring, the bigger it will be.”

Ollig said in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, it is important to support survivors following the hearings.

“I think around those issues [like the Kavanaugh hearing] it’s always important to also show survivors that their voice also matters and that the nation actually does actually care about their issues — even if, for example, the senators that approved Kavanaugh don’t — and to also show those senators that we’re watching and this is actually an important issue that people vote on,” she said.

Capossela believes the #MeToo movement is as relevant to the Claremont Colleges as it is to national politics, as sexual misconduct is also common on campuses, as suggested by the recent Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium survey data released about the sexual assault campus climate at the 5Cs.

“In a smaller context, the #MeToo movement is really important on the one level because people who are in power should not be perpetrators of sexual assault; that’s really easy to say,” Capossela said. “But also that it’s not just movie producers and politicians who do these things. These issues exist everywhere, and they exist on these campuses.”

Scripps Student Organizers is working on future projects, including a trip to work with the Los Angeles Community Action Network on issues within the community of Skid Row. Scripps Student Organizers is attempting to organize around 50 students to help in whatever ways possible and will raise money for LACAN, Ollig said.

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