City Councilor praises student activism after rally

City+Councilor+At-Large+Ayanna+praised+Emerson+students+activism.+Cullen+Granzen+%2F+Beacon+Staff

City Councilor At-Large Ayanna praised Emerson students’ activism. Cullen Granzen / Beacon Staff

By Stefania Lugli

Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley praised Emerson students’ activism and organization of the protest against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Pressley recently ousted 20-year incumbent Congressman Michael Capuano for the seat in Massachusetts’ seventh congressional district, where Emerson resides. She gained political celebrity status after she became the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

“Emerson students are often amongst some of the first to initiate, to mobilize, to show up,” Pressley said in an interview with the Beacon. “This is just one more step in the legacy of activism and socially-conscious leaders that Emerson is producing.”

Pressley, an honorary member of Emerson’s professional service sorority Kappa Gamma Chi since spring 2013, said Emerson students’ organization of the rally did not surprise her. She said the college maintains a long history of activism.

“Young people have been at the fore of every social movement in this country,” Pressley said. “It is very important that youth step up, but this is not a new phenomenon.”

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Senior Erin Swauger and sophomores Annie Noel and Mari Sitner organized the protest after they noticed the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit scheduled Republican Sen. Jeff Flake to speak at Emerson’s Colonial Theatre on Sept. 28. Flake voted yes to approve Kavanaugh during a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Sept. 27. He also called for an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

Pressley said the motivation for the rally did not depend on Flake.

“It was for survivors,” she said. “It was to reaffirm the humanity of, and lift up the dignity, the healing, and the fight for justice for all survivors.”