Democrat Women to Wear Black to State of Union in Solidarity

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US President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, February 2017. JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic women will wear black for tonight's State of the Union address to make a statement in support of women impacted by sexual assault and harrassment.

As President Donald Trump speaks before a joint session of Congress, Democratic representatives to show solidarity with the #Metoo movement, which encourages survivors of sexual harrassment and assault to confront abusers. The movement has represented a larger shift in power dynamics across industries, as advocates rally against outdated workplace policies.

"The HouseDemWomen are standing in solidarity with women across our nation to say: #TimesUp," tweeted Representative Lois Frankel (D-Calif.), a member of the Democratic Women's Working Group (DWWG) and one of the main advocates for wearing black at tonight's speech.

"We're not trying to make this partisan," Frankel, who invited everyone in Congress to join the efforts by wearing black, said.

The DWWG reiterated the importance of safety and equality on Tuesday, adding that "sexual harassment knows no party or industry" as they reiterated safety and equality.

Some members of Congress plan to bring activists and survivors of harassment in solidarity, including Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who a DWWG member who joined Frankel in proposing the black dresscode. Speier announced plans to bring Travis Moore—a leading advocate to Congress for survivors of sexual harassment and violence—who organized over 1,500 former congressional staff in pushing for an overhaul in "inadequate" policies.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi plans to wear black as well, while also making a statement to U.S. President Trump, along with more than two dozen Democrats, by inviting the so-called "DREAMers" whose futures have been put in peril by the Trump administration and face deportation.

Tonight's statement follows Hollywood's call for black attire at the Golden Globes ceremony earlier this month, pushing the global conversation to support those speaking out against sexual harassment in the media.

The call to wear black is reminiscent of past efforts by Democratic senators to use clothing color as a symbolic gesture. Last year, a group of Democrat women, including Pelosi, wore white to support women's rights as they went into the House chamber while Trump addressed Congress.

Trump's recent use of derogatory comments about Haiti and African nations has sparked controversy and prompted many lawmakers to not attend this year's annual address. Representatives John Lewis (D-Ga.), Representative Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) and Illinois representatives Danny Davis and Bobby Rush will boycott to protest the adminsitration's policies and rhetoric.

A few Republicans are using their plus-ones as pointed nods against past Trump policies, such as Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) bringing DREAMer Adrian Escarate and Bill Nye the Science Guy as a guest for Republican Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who previously denied climate change until November.

Democrat Women to Wear Black to State of Union in Solidarity | U.S.