The five women on the Seattle City Council haven't said much since they received a flood of misogynistic hate mail in response to their vote against a street vacation for a new NBA arena in Sodo. Today, they responded as a group for the first time with an op-ed in the Seattle Times.
The editorial by Sally Bagshaw, Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Debora Juarez, and Kshama Sawant denounces "journalists, local and afar, [who] immediately took to characterizing the vote as a 'boys-versus-girls' issue" and expresses solidarity with other women who face the same kind of misogyny.
To belittle our votes and policy considerations as “emotional and naive” is not only an insult to women, it impacts our community. The misogynistic backlash to our vote is an attempt to communicate a dangerous message: Elected women in Seattle do not deserve the respect necessary to make tough decisions without the fear of violence and racially and sexually charged retaliation.
There are women across our city and nation who are abused, insulted, belittled and exploited at home or work. Their stories rarely make news. We stand in solidarity with them.
Make no mistake: We are not deterred. We will not be silenced with threats, not today, not tomorrow and not ever. We are confident the majority of Seattleites understand the malicious intent of these few misanthropes: to use fear and shame to silence and control.
It's a brief but powerful read from a council bloc that rarely aligns on policy issues the way they did on the arena vote.
González also talked to the New York Times about the backlash last week.
"The fact that it was five women who tipped the vote to prevent this land use action from occurring," González told the Times, "I think just scratched the surface of what we know is a still unfortunately very, very strong sentiment of sexism out there."