On Tuesday, February 7, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the unfortunate decision to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren during a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions.
Here is the fatal mistake McConnell made: Warren was bravely representing me — a person of color — on that floor. She was speaking up for those who have spent centuries living in a society built on silencing people who wear my skin. Senator Warren was reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King, a civil rights leader and the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. The 1986 letter beseeched Senator Strom Thurmond not to confirm Sessions, who was then a nominee to be a federal judge.
McConnell’s attempt to keep Warren quiet has now inspired a nation to speak. I took it upon myself to fax this letter to McConnell:
The note at the bottom of the letter reads:
“Since you did not allow Senator Elizabeth Warren to finish, I wanted to send you Coretta Scott King's letter in its entirety. On behalf of people of color everywhere, I hope her words haunt your conscience.”
I am calling upon Americans to do the same. You can print out Coretta Scott King’s full letter here. The fax number to McConnell’s office is (202) 224-2499.
Hold McConnell accountable for contributing to our nation’s dishonorable tradition of oppressing minorities. If you do anything for Black History Month, do not be silent. Honor Coretta. Honor Martin. Honor Marcus. Honor Malcolm. Honor W.E.B. Honor Bessie. Honor Nelson. Honor Shirley. Honor Stokley. Honor Rosa. Honor Amiri. Honor Harriet. Honor Nat. Honor Ida.
After abruptly dismissing Warren, McConnell said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
We can all take a moment to thank Mr. McConnell for giving us the slogan for next year’s midterm elections. Perhaps in 2018 he will remember that he was warned.
Gabrielle Dunkley is the author of “How To Explain A Donald Trump Presidency To Future Children Of Color” Her writing on the intersection of race, politics, and social justice can be found here.