Kava-not protesters gathered in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday night in the latest of what have become regular demonstrations against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thirty-eight protesters (and two dogs) stood in dwindling daylight and urged U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, to vote against Kavanaugh’s appointment.
The event followed a similar gathering last month and numerous smaller demonstrations in front of the senators’ Juneau office.
“What do we want our senators to be? Be Alaska senators and not Trump senators,” protest organizer Kate Troll said.
Protesters have gathered in front of the Alaska State Capitol in the latest event urging @lisamurkowski and @SenDanSullivan to vote against the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/o3y1sf7zwl
— James Brooks (@AK_OK) September 19, 2018
Troll said the “unite” rally was intended to bring Alaska Native interests, labor interests and women’s interests together to express their opinions. It also came as Kavanaugh confronts allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman at age 17. Kavanaugh and his accuser are expected to testify about the matter under oath in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
Nancy Barnes led a Nisga’a prayer song to open the protest, which lasted approximately 15 minutes.
As Barnes explained, Native organizations across Alaska — including the Alaska Federation of Natives — have announced their opposition to Kavanaugh, and she feels it’s important to be involved.
“If we don’t pay attention, things are just going to happen,” she said.
Speaking to the crowd over a small loudspeaker, Barnes said she expects Murkowski will be listening to Alaskans.
“You’re our senator, and please vote no,” Barnes said.
Barnes was followed by Nadine Lefebvre, president of the Juneau Central Labor Council, who said Kavanaugh’s appointment would be disastrous for organized labor.
Lefebvre gave the microphone to Beth Kerttula, the former Juneau legislator in the Alaska House of Representatives.
Kerttula said Kavanaugh’s appointment would mean the reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision upholding legalized abortion.
“We got pot legalized, but we still don’t have a secure right over our own bodies,” she said, speaking to the women in the audience.
Most of the people at the protest were women.
“I know that Sen. Murkowski cares about these issues, and I’m just praying that all of us standing against this … will have a great influence on her,” Kerttula said.
Emily Kane, the Juneau naturopathic doctor, interjected to say that she believes Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott have promised to ask Murkowski to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Troll had the final words of the night: “Did you notice that his name ends in a nah? It’s nah, nada, no way.”
• Contact reporter James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 523-2258.