Susan Collins Honorary Co-Sponsor of Human Rights Art Festival?

Producer Tom Block must disavow all association with the 50th vote for Brett Kavanaugh.


Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights. As I watched Sen. Susan Collins of Maine provide the crucial vote to put Brett Sexual Assault Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court for life, I wondered where I heard it. Must have been somewhere. Was it MSNBC? Plausible, but no. CNN? On a stack of Ana Navarro bibles, no. Democracy Now!? Wait, now I remember:

So when I see that Sen. Collins provided the crucial vote to put Brett FFFFFFourth of July Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court for life, I also wonder why I see her name on a press release for the International Human Rights Art Festival in NYC, at The Wild Project (195 E. 3rd St.), running Nov. 12 through 18. There is a list of honorary co-sponsors — Barbara Streisand, Amy Poehler, Kathleen Turner, Norman Lear, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — and it has Sen. Collins at the end, or should I say rear.

Festival producer Tom Block will offer dance, theater, music, spoken word and comedy, plus talks and discussion panels — more than 30 events in all — at the intersection of art, activism and society. His aim is to bring together “artists, social and political leaders and general public to imagine and implement a better, more caring world.” If human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, why would Sen. Collins still remain listed among the honorary co-sponsors of this event?

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This is an offense to anyone sharing Block’s noble vision to “imagine and implement a better, more caring world.” What more caring world will it be with Brett Devil’s Triangle Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court?

One understands that honorary co-sponsors are unlikely to show up for an event. Indeed, much as I adore the idea of Streisand exiting her Uber deep in the East Village to mingle with the hoi and the polloi, I wouldn’t count on it. At the same time, this list of honorary co-sponsors clearly exists to confer validity to Block’s festival. To have on the list, then, the same Sen. Collins who voted to put Brett Boofing Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court for life simply and glaringly runs counter to the festival’s stated goals.

Fortunately, my fellow Americans, we have a remedy.

Block surely agrees that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights. If so, he must immediate disassociate his International Human Rights Art Festival from any ties to Sen. Collins. No equivocation, no wiggle room, no caveats, no half-hearted disclaimers. Block must publicly announce that Sen. Collins’ decision to put Brett I Never Blacked Out Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court makes her fundamentally opposed to the goals of the International Human Rights Art Festival.

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Last thing.

Fri., Nov. 16 will be the festival centerpiece, an event called “Celebration of Justice.” It will include a film by Rep. John Lewis made specifically for the occasion. The guests will include Chinese democracy activist Wei Jingsheng; NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn MalalisRabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University; and Dr. Sarah Sayeed, senior advisor in the NYC Community Affairs Unit. There will also be performances by violinist Owen Valentine, singer Alika Hope, spoken-word artist (and festival assistant producer) Layla Zami; theater artist-activist Julia Levine; and Two-Spirit Cherokee singer Tony Enos.

If you know any of these people, or wish to tweet any of these people, ask how they feel being associated with an International Human Rights Art Festival to which Sen. Collins, who put Brett Hold Christine Down Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, explicitly lent her name. There is no honor for this festival in such a horrific honorific. Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights. For this festival to maintain any integrity, it must and it will publicly disavow any ties to Sen. Collins today. Contact the festival here. Tweet the festival at @HRArtFestival. Enough is enough.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On the evening of Sun., Oct. 7, I received an email from producer Tom Block acknowledging the campaign to remove Collins’ name from affiliation with his festival. He requested that I publish his email in full:

Thank you so much for your interest and passion concerning our project — your input is appreciated and valued.

Given the strong outpouring of sentiment against having Senator Collins associated with the upcoming International Human Rights Art Festival at the Wild Project in NYC’s East Village (November 12-18), I have removed her from all marketing materials from the event, and her name will not appear as an honorary co-sponsor on the program.

Block added that the following copy will soon appear on the festival’s website. I have not seen this yet, but trust it will appear shortly:

Due to an outpouring of indignation over Senator Susan Collins’s (ME) casting the final vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, and her statement that she didn’t believe Dr. Ford’s assertion that Brett Kavanaugh accosted her, we have removed her name from our list of honorary co-sponsors for the International Human Rights Art Festival at the Wild Project, from November 12-18, 2018.

We very much appreciate all of the new friends who have contacted us about her vote and removing her name — we agree. Her lack of candor, of empathy, her reliance on “junk science” to ignore Dr. Ford’s claim and her insincerity has led us to believe that we do not want her name attached to an event that includes such a sincere and passionate collection of artists, activists, performers and speakers.