Around 1,000 protesters marched from Madison Square Park to the Yale Club on Monday night to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. "Kavanaugh deserves to be opposed because he would destroy the rights of working people, of women, and everyday working class Americans," said Renee Paradis, a member of the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and one of the organizers of the event. "But when it became clear that Republicans in the Senate were prepared to put a sexual assaulter on the Supreme Court, that really spurred us to action, to take the streets."
Following Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony that Kavanaugh tried to rape her when she was a teenager, and Kavanaugh's angry denials, the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to give the FBI one week to further investigate the claims.
The march proceeded through Manhattan from Madison Square Park to Vanderbilt Avenue, where it stopped and filled the streets. Members inside of the Yale Club looked on as women gave speeches over bullhorns outside the club, criticizing toxic masculinity and the role they claim institutions like Yale play in enabling sexual assault and abuse. A classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale, Deborah Ramirez, recently come forward with allegations that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a dormitory party on campus.
"Senator, I was at the top of my class academically, busted my butt in school," Kavanaugh testified, in response to a question about whether he vomited from drinking too much alcohol. "Captain of the varsity basketball team. Got in Yale College. When I got into Yale College, got into Yale Law School. Worked my tail off."
Asked why the DSA planned the protest to wind up in front of the Yale Club, Paradis said it was because "Kavanaugh is really a symbol of elite power that feels impunity, not just to sexually assault women but to take away rights from women, working class people, and to destroy democratic representation in this country."
Paradis added, "He's a symptom. Elite power is the disease."
DSA "Marshals", members of the organization responsible for security and orderliness, coordinated with NYPD officers who blocked traffic ahead of the march and ensured there were no issues between pedestrians and protestors. After leaving the Yale Club, the protestors continued on to Grand Central Terminal, where they flooded the main concourse, with chants of "No justice, no seat," ringing through the building.
Two protestors were detained by NYPD officers after they dropped a banner off of a balcony overlooking the main concourse, but other than that there were no major or violent altercations between protestors and police. An NYPD spokesperson said there were no arrests.
As the protest wound down and demonstrators trickled out, a bystander-turned-demonstrator named Myriam, born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, said she joined the protest after she heard "a lot of noise" inside Grand Central.
"I had the feeling that something like this was going to happen, because the way they were covering it in the news," she said. "When you're doing an injustice, people have the right to let you know that."