As new accusations and stories of sexual misconduct continue to surface every day, Santa Monica wants to tackle this issue at home.
The Santa Monica Democratic Club (SMDC) will host a discussion panel at the Santa Monica Public Library MLK Auditorium (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) at 7 p.m. on Wed., July 25 addressing the subject. SMDC board member and women’s activist Barbi Appelquist moderate and the panelists will include President of the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats Jessica Yas Barker and research analyst for Unite Here local 11 Danielle Wilson.
The panel continues the work of the #MeToo and #Times Up movements that began last fall with hundreds of women (actresses and others working in the entertainment industry) revealing years of sexual harassment by their male costars and/or management. While high profile such as allegations against Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore have made national news, the Santa Monica event will focus on the harassment of the everyday woman.
The panel will dissect the issue of sexual mistreatment at work and discuss how to navigate working as a woman.
“Over the past several months, we have seen the issue of women’s rights in the workplace, specifically regarding sexual harassment, rise to prominence as more women have come forward every day about mistreatment by prominent male public figures,” said SMDC o-President Sion Roy in an email.
“Please join us for a panel discussion on this important issue, as we consider how Santa Monica Democrats can advocate for women and support #WeSaidEnough, #MeToo, and #TimesUp movements across the state and country.”
The SMDC is a local political organization and claims to be the oldest official democratic club in California. The club has a focus on the traditional topics like educating democrats on current events, endorsing democratic candidates for office and debating political ideas but they also have a history of tackling civil rights issues.
“One thing that board has been involved in for decades is gender equality and women’s rights,” said Appelquist.
She said the group has had many internal discussions over the subject and felt the current climate required those conversations to become a public event.
“We’re going to start off with the panelists giving personal stories [what their #MeToo moment was] and then for the second part, they will go into what they are working on now. As well as what we, as Santa Monica residents, can do to support,” Appelquist said.
The hope is that the public discussion helps galvanize local, community support into national action and increases the confidence of women to come forward with their issues.
“A lot of times people don’t come forward because very few of these cases are actually processed,” she said. “Like if we look at rape kits, millions of rape kits go untested. The state of Georgia instituted legislature that delineated a time frame in which all kits have to be processed by and I think Georgia is an example how you need to have support at a state level to have it at a national one.”
The Executive Board of the club will host a meet and greet from 6:30 to 7 p.m. before the event for first time and new members. The main event will start at 7 p.m. Attendance is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Parking will be available and the lot is Handicap accessible. Visit https://santamonicademocrats.com for more information.