I am excited to share that after years of strategizing and laying the groundwork - I have officially launched the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitations on Rape and Sexual Assault (CASOL) and taken on the role of Executive Director. With all that’s happened since our success ending California’s existing 10-year time limit in September 2016 as a scrappy team of grassroots activists (EndRapeSOL), it’s clear that this 30 state legislative battle to abolish remaining reporting time limits will take time and resources to adequately tackle the challenges ahead. We must develop the next generation of feminist leaders for criminal justice reform to change a sexist system void of accountability. This is an opportunity to make tangible criminal justice reform and I need your help to do it.
As you know, we are living in a moment where sexual violence has reached the cultural and political mainstream, after many years of organizing behind the scenes met a wave of celebrity energy. The work I am doing has been at the center of this energy for several years and this latest wave has only just begun.
For the past several months, #MeToo has rocked our collective consciousness and scratched at the pillars of power across many industries. Bill Cosby's storm of allegations in late 2014 ushered in this recent wave and it is chilling that his final chance at accountability during the April 2nd retrial begins just weeks from now. After the nearly 60+ allegations against him were silenced by expired statutes of limitations, Cosby survivors and allies (including myself) sought out to abolish these arbitrary time limits altogether. And in September 2016, after 13 months of campaigning, we successfully abolished California's 10-year SOL. This momentum could have propelled us into other victories, but instead, less than 2 months later, we elected the sexual-predator-in-chief as President of the United States.
Building this movement under 45’s presidency has been crazy-making, to say the least. I have worked countless hours laying the groundwork to launch campaigns in the remaining 30 states and building a coalition of national organizations to take collective action as we gear up for our moment. After Bill Cosby received a mistrial in June 2017 - it became clear that his retrial would be that ideal movement moment to build an organizing timeline around, and so, I moved confidently in the direction of his April 2nd trial.
No one could have anticipated the MeToo moment that emerged in October 2017. It hit me like a brick and I rallied to make the most of the moment, to not miss the many unfolding opportunities to bring attention to ending the statute of limitations.
Within weeks, I co-organized the first-ever #MeToo Survivors March + Rally in Los Angeles, and spoke before hundreds of people and dozens of live media streams in early November. We garnered hundreds of media hits from around the world and built strong networks of support with activists across the country, who went on to organize their own #MeToo marches.
Since then, I've been organizing actions in support of the Hollywood Handmaids, a chapter of the Handmaids Coalition. The Hollywood Handmaids represent women in film and entertainment industry who are making demands for better workplaces for women and people of color. We made our official debut outside the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hillls, received encouragement from the original Handmaid herself - Elisabeth Moss - at the SAG Awards, and are now busy planning our protests for the Academy Awards. The Handmaids Coalition has officially partnered with CASOL and will bring their haunting presence to our rallies at the local level.
All of these efforts have contributed to the energy and infrastructure development of this effort and I have done it all without any compensation. I am at a turning point in organizational development and seek support to take this work to the next level. This is where you come in.
Here's a glimpse at the next few months as I kick into high gear:
Bill Cosby's Trial, starting April 2nd: '
> I am organizing the daily, on-the-ground-presence outside the courthouse in Norristown, where I will be throughout the duration of the trial.
> I am coordinating a national day of action on April 2nd, where people in cities across the country will demonstrate in support of the survivors of Bill Cosby. So far, I have 9 cities on board and I am developing an action toolkit to support trainings and development of new leaders. My goal is to reach 60 cities to represent the 60+ women.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Arizona and beyond...
> Legislation to amend the statute of limitations in NH + MA is currently held up in committees. I will be working to move coalition contacts into action in these states - because these are potential early victories, it is important we put our best foot forward!
> In a truly backwards move on January 11th, Arizona Rep. Don Shooter suggested implementing a statute of limitations for the first time in AZ’s history, citing Roy Moore’s case in Alabama as a reason to instill more concrete cut offs for reporting. We will be monitoring this situation to ensure a bill does not get introduced.
Training + Development of New Leaders
> In addition to action toolkits and other resources, I am developing webinars, trainings and other materials to share teachings on effective creative activism, the history of the movement against sexual violence, and grassroots campaign strategy.
>I will host regional trainings across the country to share these trainings, activate new leadership and connect existing organizations to the movement to abolish SOLs.
If you are willing to support this work, I can promise you are making a real difference. Norma shared her story with the press as we fought to abolish the existing statute of limitation in California that allowed her rapist, who attacked her and left her pregnant as a teen, to avoid accountability. These arbitrary reporting timelines shield predators and silence survivors. Statutes of limitation on rape and sexual assault are a barrier to justice.
I am asking for donations of every size and shape to help me in this next phase of work. In addition to funding the campaign, I have flights, lodging, travel meals, and training materials and artwork to produce. I have plans to convene regional trainings and strategic planning retreats to develop emerging leaders and need seed funds for larger fundraising efforts. This list goes on and on and on. If there was ever a time to support my work - this is the time.
CASOL is a fiscally sponsored organization under Nonviolence International 501c3. You can make a tax-free donation by checking the box ‘campaign to abolish statues of limitation’ here.
Or (preferred) mail a check to: NI-CASOL at 4631 S Slauson Ave, Culver City CA 90230
You can also spread the word and help raise more funds by sharing this GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/day-of-action-for-cosby-survivors
Thank you so very much for your support,