It Was an Honor to be Arrested at Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing

­I got arrested yesterday. ­Alongside 70 others, I participated in civil disobedience at the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh and spent the next three and a half hours in zip ties. I slept outside the Senate building to secure my spot in line for his hearing. It was worth it.

In fact, it was an honor.

Kavanaugh represents everything that I and other activists have worked against for decades. His past work has shown his disdain, and even antipathy, for justice of all forms: economic, racial, reproductive, and more. The fact that over three million crucial documents have gone missing is nothing short of alarming. And his ability to precede over hearings in which the president, who appointed him, will be implicated in should make every American angry.

His nomination is infuriating, but his hearing is a travesty.

So, I signed up to for a direct action with the Center for Popular Democracy Action and the Women’s March to participate in an act of civil disobedience during which I knew I would be getting arrested. I am no stranger to activism through protest. This summer alone I attended nearly 10 different protests across DC. It was inevitable that I would eventually participate in civil disobedience and get arrested.

But as much as I knew what I was doing was right, I was still anxious. Though I had been trained and knew exactly what would happen in the hearing room and when I was arrested, I felt my stomach flip. What I was choosing to do was bigger than the protests and rallies I have attended in the past. An arrest would follow me for the rest of my life.

But the small sacrifice of an arrest in my file is absolutely miniscule compared to the sacrifice and subjugation of the vulnerable identities that Kavanaugh’s nomination would cause. It is diminutive in comparison to the sacrifices and subjugation of activists in the past.

So, I walked into the hearing and sat with my fellow disrupters. I watched as Capitol Hill police officers forcibly dragged us women out one by one. I watched as they knocked us to the ground, at one point causing a 70-year-old woman shoulder damage. Yet we kept standing up. It was beautiful chaos.

And I do feel like we made a difference. Our presence, though it wasn’t enough to delay the hearing as we had hoped, sent a powerful message to the Senators across the room from us that we meant business. That we are not going anywhere. And that if they vote yes to confirm Kavanaugh, that we would vote them out of office.

As a Jewish woman, I carry the legacy of countless other Jews who have stood for what they value. From the midwives, Shifra and Puah, in the Torah who refused the Pharaoh’s orders to murder the first-born son of the Hebrews, to the endless list of female labor activists who led strike after strike to ensure safe and equitable working conditions, to the Jewish women of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who participated in Freedom Rides in the ‘60s.

These are the stories that I have read about for years. Our current activism must include history of the movements we are fighting for now. It is imperative that we honor the legacy of the women who have come before us and try to finish the work that they started.

As a Jewish woman, I am called to complete this legacy. I am called to justice. And in this moment, my morals told me to call on this knowledge to participate in the most extreme form of peaceful protest by getting arrested. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Steph Black

Steph Black is a women’s studies major at American University in DC, a city she loves. Steph can be found reading next to her cat, Goose, writing about feminism and Judaism, or protesting around the city for basic human rights.

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