Ocasio-Cortez to bring sexual assault survivor who protested Brett Kavanaugh to State of the Union

Ana Maria Archila made headlines after she protested the Supree Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to Jeff Flake

Published February 4, 2019 3:44PM (EST)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP/Charles Krupa)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP/Charles Krupa)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) will bring a sexual assault survivor who made headlines protesting the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as her guest to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Ana Maria Archila tweeted that she is "filled with hope by (Ocasio-Cortez's) fierce spirit & her relentless belief that we all deserve to live with dignity & share in the abundance of our country."

"Thank you for holding the doors open for so many, so that our voices can be heard at #SOTU & beyond! #sisterhood," she added.

Archila will wear a pin that the congresswoman gave her that says, "Well behaved women rarely make history." Ocasio-Cortez will wear a matching one.

In a tweet, the self-described Democratic Socialist noted that Archila lived in her district, and called her "living proof that the courage within all of us can change" the world.

Archila confronted former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last September just after the the frequent Trump critic announced he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the nation's highest court. Kavanaugh was accused by Christine Blasey Ford of sexual misconduct. In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford told the panel that she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh had assaulted her at a gathering of teenagers when they were in high school in the 1980s; Kavanaugh vehemently denied the accusations during his testimony.

Flake's encounter with Archila, who identified herself as a sexual assault survivor, was caught on camera, and quickly became a viral moment.

"You're telling me what happened to me doesn't matter," an emotional Archila told Flake as he was in a Senate building elevator. "Don't look away from me! Look at me, and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me — that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land."

Following Kavanaugh's confirmation, Archila issued a statement, in which she wrote, "Earlier this week, I shared my survivor story for the first time in front of Senator Jeff Flake's office, and I know that I am not alone. Survivors from Arizona and across the country have been flooding his office with their stories."

"By announcing he will vote 'yes' on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, Flake showed us that he does not care about our truths and does not care about women," she continued. "He claims to support civility, but has proven today that he would rather ignore women’s stories and support a disrespectful sexual abuser than stick to his values."

Hours after the encounter, Flake, who had voted to move ahead with Kavanaugh's confirmation, reached across the aisle to delay a floor vote on the confirmation for one week to allow the FBI to investigate Ford's claims. Democrats complained that the investigation was a sham, while Republican lawmakers said it cleared Kavanaugh. He ultimately was confirmed 50-48, with the final tally breaking almost entirely along party lines.

Kavanaugh is expected to attend Tuesday's speech, along with the other members of the Supreme Court.

Archila is co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy. The New York-based nonprofit group shared a video of Ocasio-Cortez presenting Archila with a pin that says, "Well-behaved women rarely make history."

"I got us matching pins," Ocasio-Cortez told her. "We can wear them on Tuesday."

By Shira Tarlo

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