Today’s newsletter is written by Chairman Mom team member Catherine Connors.
At last fall’s Chairman Mom Flee, Michele Dauber did a fireside chat about her work spearheading the successful campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky, the judge who sentenced Brock Turner. To say that she was inspiring would be to understate things dramatically — we were 100 women struggling to make sense of the Kavanaugh hearings, going on while we were tucked away in a beautiful mountain town building community, and her fierce, unstoppable example was both extraordinary and necessary. We could feel our own capacity for change, but we needed to see what that kind of capacity could look like when it goes directly up against the capital-P Patriarchy — and wins.
Michele showed us what that looks again this past Monday at the 8th Annual Ms. Luncheon, where she was recognized for her work, and the Chairman Mom contingent who attended was delighted to participate in the standing ovation that she so richly deserves. Listening to her — and to Title IX defenders Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, Ms. Executive Director Kathy Spillar, Feminist Majority Foundation co-founder Ellie Smeal, and an amazing group of teen girls from Girls Learn International — was a reminder that we CAN change the system. It can feel slow and tough and unforgiving, but we can do it. We are doing it.
I was holding on to that reminder when I left the luncheon, and was scrolling through the news while en route to catch my flight back to LA. Top of my feed was the story of Shane Piche, an upstate NY school bus driver who was just sentenced for raping a 14 year old girl — and who received no jail time. None. Not a single day. The judge who passed the sentence — Judge James P. McCluskey — said that because Piche had no prior arrests and there was only one victim, probation was adequate.
The system isn’t broken. It’s working perfectly for men like Shane Piche and Brock Turner, because it’s built and managed by men like James P. McCulskey and Aaron Persky. And that — for lack of a better term — SUCKS. It’s wildly, stupidly horrible. It’s maddening. Rage-inducing.
But we can’t let it discourage us. We need to use our frustration and our anger to make change. Michele Dauber has given us one powerful example of how to do that. There are others. There are all the women who were in the room yesterday — and all the girls. There are all the warriors fighting every single day (Debra Katz was unapologetic about referring to herself as a social justice warrior, and I loved it.)
There are all of us. And we CAN change things.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Summer fashion trend?
- Is it worth it to hire a speaking coach if I have to pay for it myself?
- Do you spy on your kids?