Tell the Senate: Confirm Judges Committed to Expanding Civil Rights
Extremist judges will not stop endangering the lives of pregnant people or people who may become pregnant—overturning Roe v. Wade, attacking medication abortion, threatening the future of IVF, and now pregnancy accommodations. There are 56 federal judicial vacancies and 30 nominations before the Senate right now.
Tell the Senate to commit to confirming all federal nominees who will defend the rights and well-being of pregnant and postpartum workers, people who can get pregnant, and all women!
While I read through Dykstra’s account, I swear I could feel my pulse tick up in anger. At the National Women’s Law Center, we fight against despicable behavior every single day in the pursuit of justice. You’d think that I’d be used to reading new, heinous accounts like this by now, especially after the year-plus we’ve lived through since the election of the current administration. But something about Dykstra’s account in particular touched a raw nerve. The realm of geek is my community—these are my people, and this is supposed to be our safe space.
We have chosen to come together to gush over our respective nerdy interests, from video games to history to science fiction, and everything in between. Nerdom is where we run to escape the horrors of current events over which we have little to no control, where we’re supposed to be able to go when excluded anywhere else, where we should be accepted no matter our gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or other self-identifier. The kind of abuse that Dykstra suffered has no place in the community that I and others have worked to make—or in anyone’s community. The problem is that no group is immune from this kind of vile behavior, and we won’t be able to rid ourselves of it until we accept that and actively speak out against it.
More even than the billion-dollar comic book franchises that have become reliable watercooler touchpoints, the ubiquity of abuse reminds us how much geek culture is no different than the mainstream. As our new Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Mary-Frances Wain, recently said to me, “People in power abuse power, and those people are often men.” It’s long past time that people who have abused their power face the consequences of their actions, from Cosby to Weinstein and beyond. I find it heartening that Nerdist, the geek empire founded by the man most likely to be the unnamed ex in Dykstra’s essay, removed all references to him within hours of her essay’s posting, and that his talk show and upcoming appearances have been either suspended or canceled. Those actions alone, however, are not enough.
Even more than that, you need to keep your eyes and ears open. Watch for the normalization of bigoted or abusive behavior and do your best to snuff it out. Keep the survivors in mind, make room for them to speak, and lift up their words. Counteract toxic behavior in every part of your life, from your workplace to your favorite video game chat to your next comic con. Together, we are Wonder Woman striding through No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets and bombs when no one else has the courage to march forward. Together, we will resist the Empire’s attempts to silence the Resistance. Together, we will make sure that everyone can boldly go into the future, without fear and with an abundance of hope.