Sept. 28, 2018 By Tara Law
An Astoria woman topped newsfeeds today after she confronted Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator as he was approaching a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Astoria resident Ana Maria Archila, the co-executive director from the Center for Popular Democracy, teamed up with another woman to approach Flake this morning and demand that he explain his decision to back Kavanaugh, who stands accused of sexually assaulting Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when she was a teen.
Flake, of Arizona, is considered to be one of the more moderate Republican Senators, and was visibly disturbed as he listened to Ford’s emotional testimony yesterday. But Flake said earlier today that he intended to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
On the way to the judicial hearing, however, Flake’s elevator was held up by Archila and another woman, Maria Gallagher.
“What you are doing is allowing someone— who actually violated a woman— to sit in the Supreme Court,” said Archila.
“This is not tolerable,” she added. “You have children in your family. Think about them. I have two children— I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years they have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?”
Gallagher interjected, telling Flake that she felt he was acting as if women’s pain is irrelevant.
“I was sexually assaulted and no one believed me,” said Gallagher. “I didn’t tell anyone and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they you what happened to them you’re going to ignore them.”
Gallagher then demanded that Flake, “Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter.”
Archila asked Flake repeatedly whether he believed Kavanaugh’s testimony.
“Senator Flake, do you think that Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth?” Archila said. “Do you think that he’s able to hold the pain of this country and repair it? That is the work of justice. The way that justice works is, you recognize hurt, you take responsibility for it and then you try to repair it.”
Flake thanked both women for speaking with him and told them that he needed to get to the hearing.
At the hearing, Flake voted to advance said Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate, but said that he would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless the Senate permitted an FBI probe.
“This country is being ripped apart here, and we’ve got to make sure that we do due diligence,” Flake said.
So proud of Ana Maria Archila Gualy of #Astoria, #Queens who was one of two women in that elevator calling out @JeffFlake this morning. Such a powerful moment. Talk about #QueensValues pic.twitter.com/i7k6df4nHD
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) September 28, 2018
I feel relieved that @JeffFlake seems to have heard my and @AnaMariaArchil2’s voices in the Senate elevator today. We absolutely need an FBI investigation and for him and all Senators to vote NO. #StopKavanaugh pic.twitter.com/VnsfTIRGXJ
— Maria Gallagher (@mgallagher822) September 28, 2018