Her partner, slightly shorter, a scientist at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, had her long brown hair pulled into a ponytail. She wore red glasses and a T-shirt with a Chinese character on it. She didn’t even want her first name published.
They had envisioned joining a demonstration like the one they’d read about at Hart on Constitution Avenue NE earlier in the day. But once they met up downtown around 6:30 p.m., they followed people with placards to this spot between the Supreme Court and the Capitol, where 15 nonprofits had organized a “filibuster” at which protesters against Kavanaugh would camp out and speak for two days straight in hopes of somehow derailing the vote.
“It’s a done deal,” the scientist remembered telling Kara earlier in the day. “But I’ll join you, I don’t care.”
The filibuster was being streamed live on the web. Multiple cameras and floodlights heightened the already dramatic backdrop of the lit-up Supreme Court against the dark sky. If any of the speakers onstage ran out of things to say, copies of Dr. Ford’s opening statement had been printed in a binder ready to read.
Kara said she couldn’t even watch Ford’s testimony. She had found it too heart-wrenching. So she relied on her partner to keep her up to date via text. If Kavanaugh gets confirmed, she said, “I’m going to have to deal with it.”
Women of all ages, and some men, had come down for the filibuster. A few women were from Ford’s high school, Holton-Arms, and wore T-shirts that said don’t mess. One woman said she just hopped off the metro at the Capitol after seeing Bernie Sanders go live on Facebook from the event. Still, Kara was disappointed that even more hadn’t come.
“I hate to say it because the organizers are fantastic. They’ve done a great intersectionality, brought in a lot of voices. But this crowd is abysmal,” Kara said bitterly. “This whole place should be full of people still chanting.”
Her partner, having come straight from work, still had her backpack strapped on her shoulders. She wore a roll of lime green duct tape, which she had used to make their posters, looped around her wrist like a bracelet.
This being a filibuster, anyone could sign up and speak. But neither Kara nor her partner felt so moved. “I don’t think I particularly have a compelling story to tell,” the scientist said, a faint accent the only hint that she’d immigrated from Cuba 21 years ago.
“I think you do,” Kara said, pausing to think about this moment in our politics. “We are different things within one household—being a federal worker, being gay, being an immigrant. The stuff that happens affects us in huge, huge ways.”
For example: Under Obama, she was able to put her partner on her health insurance, and have worker’s rights to go visit her dying mother, Kara said. And her partner was able to travel to Cuba without having to go through Canada.