A series of protests against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are happening on Saturday, October 6, called Cancel Kavanaugh (#CancelKavanaugh) in some circles and #StopKavanaugh or “No Justice, No Seat” in others. The main protest is happening in Washington, D.C., but sister protests are happening in states all around the country. Here are more details on who is organizing and funding these Kavanaugh protests.
The Main #CancelKavanaugh Protest in D.C. Is Sponsored by the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, & CPD Action
The major Cancel Kavanaugh protests that are happening today are being organized in large part by the Women’s March campaign. The Cancel Kavanaugh website states at the bottom: “Website By Women’s March.” The Join Us In DC link, which takes you to information about the main protest, has the Women’s March logo at the top. But you can get a clearer picture of who is sponsoring the main Cancel Kavanaugh protest in DC simply by scrolling down to the bottom of the page, where it lists the sponsors.
The sponsors for the D.C. Cancel Kavanaugh protest are Women’s March National, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and CPD Action. CPD Action is an advocacy group, and its sister group is the Center for Popular Democracy, according to CPD’s website. Its website states that the organization “works to create equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. We work on campaigns that promote a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda and win victories to improve people’s lives.”
The Center for Popular Democracy has been in the news recently because its co-executive producer, Ana Maria Archila, was one of the two women who stopped Arizona Senator Jeff Flake on a Senate elevator. The other woman with her, Maria Gallagher, is also an activist with the group. Their actions went viral and may have influenced Flake’s decision to request that the FBI investigate Dr. Ford’s allegation. However, they also attracted the attention of President Donald Trump, who tweeted about “very rude elevator screamers” who were “paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad” and had signs “paid for by Soros and others.”
It appears there is only a small partial truth in that tweet, according to multiple sources. The Center for Popular Democracy is indeed partially funded by Soros, The Hill reported. The New York Post reported that more specifically, The Center for Popular Democracy is partially funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which was one of its three largest donors in 2014. Soros, a billionaire, frequently invests in liberal causes.
Open Society Foundations denied in a tweet that it played any direct role in the protests. “Mr. Soros does not pay people to protest,” the organization noted.
Andrew Friedman, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, told the Washington Post that Open Society Foundations contributes more than $1 million a year to the organization, which is split between it and the Center for Popular Democracy Action (the political advocacy group that is co-sponsoring the main D.C. march.) The Center received a total of $12.5 million in gifts and donations in 2016, and $13.2 million in 2015, while CPD Action received nearly $3 million in gifts, grants, and contributions in 2016. Friedman noted that Open Society’s donations have “strings attached” that require the money be spent on economic justice programs and not for protester’s bail payments, for example. A small amount can be used for general operating expenses.
Jennifer Flynn Walker, director of advocacy and mobilization for the Center and CPD Action, told The Washington Post that Soros had no involvement in organizing or strategy for anti-Kavanaugh protests and had not paid any protesters. Laura Silber, spokeswoman for Open Society Foundations, also told The Washington Post that Archila’s decision was personal and completely independent of OSF.
There’s no reason or evidence to believe that Archila and Gallagher weren’t sincere when they approached Flake, NBC News pointed out. They were speaking from their own traumatic experiences and those of others, which gave them the passion and desire to confront Flake. Archila said in response to Trump’s tweet: “No one can pay for someone’s lived experiences. The pain, the trauma, and the rage that I expressed when I spoke with Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator were my own, and I held it for more than 30 years to protect the people I love from it.”
She also told The New York Times that she had not been paid to protest. “He’s trying to bully people who are there to speak up, women who are there to speak up. And I am not distracted. His accusation that we are paid protesters is wrong.”
CPD Action is also taking donations from anyone to help with their Kavanaugh protests. So far, they’ve received $38,612 donations here. CPD Action doesn’t have a page on Charity Navigator, but the Center for Popular Democracy does here.
CPD Action is one of three main sponsors for the D.C. March. The Women’s March and Planned Parenthood are the other main sponsors of the Cancel Kavanaugh protest in D.C. Philanthropy Women wrote in January about who funds the Women’s March. The main sponsors of their annual January marches, the site noted, include Planned Parenthood and the National Resource Defense Council. Other sponsors include Emily’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and then “movement friends” included the ACLU, the AFT, Human Rights Campaign, Movement Is Loud, 1199SEIU, and Moveon.org. You can see a full list of Women’s March partners here.
The #StopKavanaugh Sister Marches Are Organized by UltraViolet & a Number of Additional Sponsors
The sister marches, meanwhile, are being organized by UltraViolet. You can find a map to where sister marches are occurring across the state right here on UltraViolet’s website.
UltraViolet is “a powerful and rapidly growing community of people mobilized to fight sexism and create a more inclusive world that accurately represents all women, from politics and government to media and pop culture,” according to their website. The activist group said that some of its activists were part of the group who confronted Flake in the elevator, Heavy noted.
According to their Facebook page for the Stop Kavanaugh sister marches, the following groups are also co-sponsoring these marches: MomsRising.org, AFT – American Federation of Teachers, NRDC Action Fund, People For the American Way, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Progressive Turnout Project, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, and American Family Voices.