I’m calling on all CDP Chair candidates to take the #SurvivorsPledge.
Two weeks ago, I published an essay discussing bombshell allegations against the California Democratic Party’s handling of a sexual misconduct complaint.
Over these past two weeks, I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of support and outreach that I’ve received. One of the worst parts of coming forward in any context — particularly a controversial one like this — is the paralyzing fear that you will step off this proverbial cliff alone, with nobody to catch you.
And so many people have caught me. You all listened to me say that the fear of silence, of being trapped and unheard, was devastating for my mental health, and so many of you answered back with a resounding “I hear you.”
So thank you all for that. But we have work to do, and we’re working against a clock.
People from all corners of our Party are rightfully stunned and outraged at the disastrous, disgusting way that the CDP has handled this case in particular, but also at all of the bad decisions, institutionalized rape culture, and powerful individuals turning the other way that led to this moment. My story may have been the boiling point, but the fire was on long before I even walked into the Party doors last fall.
We have a choice to make as a Party. We can either be the Party that sticks to its values — values based on justice, accessibility, and accountability — or we can be the Party that abandons its values as soon as they become politically inconvenient. If we choose the latter, then we don’t deserve to govern. How can we champion the rights of survivors and call out Trump for his politically opportunistic usage of certain victims — as long as it fits his agenda — if we allow the same behavior?
California is the most progressive state in the nation. Our Democratic Party should reflect that. Instead, the Party has decided to spit in the face of survivors everywhere by sacrificing its values all for the hope of a legal win.
So if the current administration isn’t going to do the right thing, we must look to the future — which brings me to the Chair’s race.
In what was undoubtedly a jab at me and the other survivors and supporters who have made their opinions known in the past two weeks, Vice Chair Larimore-Hall asserted that some victims are staying “hidden out of fear of being used as weapons in a political organization undergoing a heated fight for leadership.”
Yes, it is a heated fight for leadership. And it damn well should be. How could you read everything that has happened and not get heated? I am not weaponizing survivors. I am simply speaking my truth and fighting back — and other people have listened, because they are fed up.
I did not start this, but I will finish it, and I won’t do it alone.
Because no matter who wins the position of Chair in a few months, the people of the CDP and of this state need to know that the glaring mismanagement and systematic harassment, abuse, and retaliation in the Party are going to be dealt with accordingly. It is a necessity for us moving forward. If we’re going to bounce back, we need to become an innovative, dedicated example of how to root out cultures of sexual misconduct. We do not get a second chance at this.
Which is why I’m calling on every candidate running for Chair to sign the #SurvivorsPledge — a group of basic reforms and steps that they pledge to enact should they win.
- Immediately replace the CDP’s current law firm, Delfino Madden, with a law firm that has a background in restorative justice, and agree to only hire restorative-justice specialized law firms going forward. This will close an existing hypocritical loophole in Party norms. The CDP does not give money or business to organizations that don’t fit with our values in every other circumstance. It is standard practice for the CDP to only work with historically like-minded companies and organizations in every other order of business. The fact that they are only willing to compromise this in terms of who they hire to handle sexual misconduct is wildly disturbing. How will survivors feel safe coming forward after this if they know that the Party can and will hire a firm that doesn’t even remotely have their best interests at heart? The precedent this sets is catastrophically damaging, which is why this tenant of the Pledge is incredibly important.
- Publicly take institutional accountability by disclosing who it was that kept Delfino Madden on after their connection to me was made known. This decision not only caused incredible mental harm to me, but shattered the faith of so many people in the Party’s handling of this matter. We must be transparent going forward, and part of that process includes acknowledging which leaders in the CDP deemed this an acceptable strategy — and more specifically, deemed that knowingly retraumatizing a child rape survivor was an acceptable cost.
- Bring in an outside organization to study and reform the internal structure of the Party as it relates to sexual misconduct prevention and handling. This includes firms or individuals that can help set up more effective, comprehensive, compassionate anti-harassment training.
This isn’t about being petty. It’s about our future, about what comes next, about how we want history to look back on us.
This isn’t about any candidate in particular. This is about our Party’s soul.
This isn’t about me. This is about survivors.
So if you believe and support us, sign.