We Asked All 106 Congresswomen If They'll Wear Black To SOTU

As the sexual harassment reckoning has moved from Hollywood to virtually all sectors of society, Washington hasn't been the exception. And now, a group of Democratic women are taking a cue from Hollywood's protest at the Golden Globes and planning to wear black to President Trump's first State of the Union in support of #MeToo and Time's Up.
The lawmakers behind the protest belong to the Democratic Women's Working Group (DWWG) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Several members confirmed to Refinery29 that they will participate as a show of support for survivors who have spoken up. The protest is not limited to the House female lawmakers, however — they're inviting men and women, from both parties, to also don black at the event.
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The protest will go beyond their clothes, too. NBC News reported earlier this month that some Democrats are inviting survivors and advocates as their guests. (Lawmakers are allowed to bring one guest to the event.)
In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein exposé, several elected officials have been accused of sexual misconduct and the allegations against President Donald Trump have resurfaced. It has led to some of them stepping down or announcing they won't seek re-election. And lawmakers in both chambers, many of them women, have been pushing for new legislation to combat sexual harassment and other types of abuses.
Refinery29 reached out to all 106 women in Congress to ask whether they will support the protest. Ahead is every female lawmaker who has confirmed they will wear black to the State of the Union. We'll continue to update this story as more women say they will join in.
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi believes the country is at a historic turning point when it comes to the fight against sexual misconduct. The symbolic protest on January 30 will only go hand-in-hand with other types of action.

"We are supporting the brave women in every industry and every corner of the country who are making their voices heard," she told Refinery29. "We are at a watershed moment in the nationwide fight against sexual harassment and discrimination, and we must continue to keep up the drumbeat of action for real change."
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Rep. Lois Frankel, one of the congresswomen spearheading the protest, said that it was important for them to show support for the survivors who have advanced the conversation surrounding sexual harassment.

"By wearing black, Members of Congress are showing solidarity with a movement that is demanding economic justice and a cultural shift that enables men and women to work side by side in safety and dignity, free of sexual harassment, and be paid equally for the value of their work," the Florida Democrat told Refinery29.
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Rep. Jackie Speier was the first one to disclose the DWWG members would wear black. The California Democrat expects there will be strong support for the protest on January 30.

"This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it," Speier told Refinery29.
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For Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, wearing black to the State of the Union is deeply personal. In the summer of 2016, after 40 years of silence, the New Hampshire Democrat shared her own experience with sexual assault on the House floor. Her experience was similar to other young Capitol staffers, and she believes that addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is "long overdue."

"The conversation about sexual harassment and assault in our nation is long overdue but through efforts such as the #MeToo movement it is finally gaining steam. This conversation has been fostered by courageous women and men who are speaking out and saying enough is enough," she told Refinery29.

She continued, "We need to end this all too persistent problem in workplaces and communities around the country, and the highest reaches of government can be no exception. At the State of the Union we will be wearing black to show our solidarity with survivors who aim to end sexual violence and harassment everywhere."
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Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman is not only wearing black to the State of the Union; she's also making a statement in support of women from marginalized communities. The New Jersey Democrat is leading the charge so members of the Congressional Black Caucus wear a red 'Recy' pin to the State of the Union as a tribute to Recy Taylor. Taylor was a Black woman in Alabama who was kidnapped and raped by six white men in 1944. Her quest for justice was a crucial component of the civil rights movement.

"It’s important to acknowledge what has proven to be a transformative movement in this nation’s history and a reminder of the power and promise of women’s leadership, advocacy and organization," she told Refinery29. "But what we must never forget are the many marginalized women — like Recy Taylor — who have spoken up, spoken out and have long been ignored."
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Rep. Grace Meng told Refinery29 that wearing black to the State of the Union is a symbol of the lawmakers' commitment to changing a culture that has allowed sexual harassment to flourish.

“We are in the midst of a cultural movement, and Congress must do more to bring attention to issues of sexual assault and harassment," the New York Democrat said. "We cannot let the momentum dissipate. We cannot let these issues escape our cultural consciousness. We are wearing black because we refuse to go back. There is only going forward, especially in Congress. Time’s up.”
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Prior to joining Congress, Rep. Val Demings used to work in law enforcement. The former Chief of the Orlando Police Department told Refinery29 that she inevitable investigated sexual abuses cases throughout her career.

"I witnessed the victims' emotional scaring, brokenness, and shame," the Florida Democrat said. "I join my colleagues and women all over the nation in sending a message to the President and others who have engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior and harassment: Your time is up."

Like other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, she will also be wearing a red 'Recy' pin as a tribute to Recy Taylor.
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For Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat representing Nevada, the issue of sexual misconduct boils down to how women still face inequality in the workplace and else.

"Achieving full gender equality starts with putting an end to the culture of sexual harassment, which for too long has been tolerated and even normalized among those who hold and abuse power," she told Refinery29. "I stand with the brave women and victims everywhere who are coming forward to share their difficult stories and believe that we have a moral obligation to put an end to this abhorrent behavior once and for all."
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Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, believes that the aftermath of the #MeToo movement should teach every American that the time when sexual harassment was permissible is over.

"As the Golden Globes showed, the entertainment industry is trying to find productive ways to wrestle with its sexual harassment demons. The leadership that many in that community are now showing, through symbolic as well as concrete steps, should be a lesson for the rest of the country – starting with elected officials in DC," DeGette told Refinery29. "Congress is slowly coming to terms with its issues on this score; President Trump still hasn’t faced such a reckoning. I will wear black to say 'Time’s Up.'"
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Rep. Norma Torres told Refinery29 that it's important to remember that women are not the only ones who face sexual harassment and abuse.

"This issue is not limited to just women. People of all gender identities suffer from sexual misconduct, and the threat is heightened for people of color and trans people," the California Democrat said. "I am wearing all-black during the State of the Union because I support and applaud the courage of every person speaking out against their abusers, and I stand with them."
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For Rep. Carolyn Maloney, wearing black to the event is as important as taking action to put a stop to sexual misconduct and harassment issues.

“The #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up campaign are linked by one very important message: unity. In wearing black to the State of the Union, we will be saying ‘we hear you, we’re with you, we are fighting for you,'" she told Refinery29.

The New York Democrat continued, "I have already introduced two bills to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. We must take full advantage of this moment as an opportunity to raise awareness and inspire real, lasting change so that no woman has to say ‘me too’ ever again.”
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Elected officials are responsible for setting the example on how to deal with sexual harassment, according to Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat from Delaware.

"With all eyes on the State of the Union, I’m proud to join my Democratic women colleagues and sisters in the #MeToo and Time's Up movements in standing up for those that have been victimized and have suffered in silence for far too long," she told Refinery29. "Congress has a responsibility to set an example of how to address sexual harassment, and the way to do that is by holding wrongdoers accountable and speaking out against these injustices.”
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Rep. Debbie Dingell made a point to highlight that we should be pushing to make the workplace safer for everyone.

"At the State of the Union, we will show solidarity with women and men across this country who are standing up, speaking out and joining together to say ‘Time’s Up,’" the Michigan Democrat told Refinery29. "Serious and important dialogue is taking place, but what we have to do is continue working every day to make this movement real for everyone – whether she’s a farmworker, a teacher, a waitress, a lawyer trying to make partner, or a worker on a factory floor. Everyone deserves to work in an environment that is safe and free from harassment and assault.”
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Rep. Barbara Lee told Refinery29 that the congresswomen will continue working to create change and stop the sexual misconduct epidemic.

"For too long, women have been subject to rampant sexual assault, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The #MeToo movement has shone a light on the reality that no industry is immune from this epidemic," the California Democrat said. "I will be wearing black at the State of the Union this year in solidarity with the women in offices and classrooms and factories and restaurants who are bravely speaking out against sexual violence. Time’s up for sexual harassment — we won’t stop until women everywhere are treated with respect and dignity.”
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For Rep. Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, the protest is a way to remind everyone that the era where harassment and gender inequality were acceptable is over.

"From retail floors to the floor of Congress, women have faced sexual harassment and been treated as second-class for far too long. As a society, we must say that time’s up," she told Refinery29. "The days when inappropriate behavior was tolerated in our workplaces must end, and I hope that joining the other 61 Democratic women in Congress wearing black to the State of the Union will send that message loud and clear.”
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Rep. Julia Brownley told Refinery29 that the protest is just another way to showcase gender inequality and sexual misconduct are unacceptable.

"I will be standing in solidarity with my fellow members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, women across the nation in the #MeToo movement, and others who have been silenced for far too long," the California Democrat said. "Gender discrimination and sexual harassment have no place in our society, and we will continue to use every platform available to spread that message."
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Rep. Suzan DelBene believes just one simple thing: There should be no tolerance for sexual misconduct at the high levels of government — or anywhere else. That's why the Washington Democrat is donning black at the State of the Union.

"I don’t care if you’re a Member of Congress, a Supreme Court Justice or the President of the United States," she told Refinery29. "We should have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment in our government – just as we should in every aspect of society."
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A spokesperson for Rep. Chellie Pingree confirmed to Refinery29 that the Maine Democrat will participate in the protest as a show of support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse.

"Congresswoman Pingree believes the stories of women who’ve bravely broken their silence about sexual abuse and harassment—from the military to the halls of Congress—deserve to be heard and those who've harmed them physically or professionally should be held accountable," Victoria Bonney, communications director for Rep. Pingree, told Refinery29.
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Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, a Democrat from California, will join the protest as a way to support the survivors who have spoken up in the last few months.

"I am wearing black to stand with the brave women who have come forward to share their story of sexual assault and say #timesup," she told Refinery29. "I am proud to be part of the #MeToo movement. I’ve shared my story, share yours."
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A spokesperson for Rep. Gwen Moore confirmed the Wisconsin Democrat will participate in the protest.

“Congresswoman Moore will be wearing black during this year’s State of the Union address as a symbol of support and solidarity for the Time’s Up campaign, the #MeToo movement, and the allies working to end sexual assault, harassment, and workplace inequality," Eric Harris, Moore's communications director, told Refinery29. "It will serve as a strong message of defiance to those who have and continue to subject women to a toxic masculinity that has plagued our society for far too long. The congresswoman wants them to know that their time is indeed up, from the world of media and entertainment to the halls of government."
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Rep. Rosa DeLauro stressed that the survivors who have spoken up need our support. That's the reason why the Connecticut Democrat will wear black to the State of the Union.

"I plan to wear black to the State of the Union later this month in solidarity with the brave women and men who are working every day to eradicate sexual assault and harassment from our society," she said. "The stories they have courageously shared must be heard, and they deserve our unwavering support."
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A spokesperson for Rep. Louise Slaughter confirmed to Refinery29 that the New York Democrat will wear black to the State of the Union as a show of support for the survivors of sexual misconduct who have spoken up.
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A spokesperson for Rep. Congresswoman Alma Adams confirmed to Refinery29 she will join the protest on January 30.

“Rep. Adams will wear black to the State of the Union to honor the courageous women who have come forward to tell their stories and to give a voice to those who can’t. Rep. Adams will also join the women of the Congressional Black Caucus in wearing a red pin to honor the life and legacy of Recy Taylor, an African American woman who was kidnapped and raped in Alabama in 1944 and who passed away last year without justice," the spokesperson said. "The #MeToo movement showed us that we need reform across all industries, including Congress. Powerful men have abused their power for too long but women across America are standing up to say #TimesUp.”
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Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat, said she will join the protest as a way to support survivors of sexual misconduct.

"I will wear black to the State of the Union to stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and to send a clear message that women of Congress will not tolerate these abuses and will continue to fight for meaningful change," she told Refinery29.
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A spokesperson for Rep. Katherine Clark told Refinery29 she will wear black as a show of support for survivors and that the Massachusetts Democrat wants to highlight how sexual harassment is also an economic issue. Clark will be accompanied by Anny Gonzalez, an airplane cleaner who was harassed to the point she was forced to find another job.

"When the president looks up at our guests, I want him to see the face of a mom who was forced to decide between reporting abuse and making sure her daughter was fed,” said Clark said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "Millions of women in the service industry contend with assault, harassment, and abuse from more powerful people because they feel like they have no other choice. The #MeToo movement has to be about creating a safe environment for victims to come forward, establishing accountability, and demanding action from our leaders, including our president."
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