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Time’s Up Chief Lisa Borders: Kavanaugh Fight Provides ‘Perverse Fuel for the Rocket Ship’

The leaders of Time’s Up hope to turn the anger and dismay generated by Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation into momentum for a movement.

“We know that people were deeply traumatized by what happened on Friday,” said Lisa Borders, newly appointed president and CEO of Time’s Up. She added, “People were absolutely horrified at what happened. So what we expect, what my family said to me was, ‘When are you going to fix it? How fast?’ So I think what happened on Friday was perhaps perverse fuel for the rocket ship here we are calling Time’s Up.”

Borders was joined Tuesday at the office of public relations firm Sunshine Sachs in Los Angeles by a handful of leaders from Time’s Up, the advocacy organization that was formed this year in the response to sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others in the entertainment industry, for a Q&A session with reporters. It was Borders’ first such event since she was named president and CEO last week.

Borders and others, including Time’s Up COO Rebecca Rottenberg Goldman and Tina Tchen of Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, used the forum to tout the organization’s recent accomplishments. Fatima Goss Graves — president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, which administers the legal fund — said that since January, Time’s Up has been contacted by more than 3,500 people from across 60 different sectors, including retail, construction, and hospitality. Two-thirds of the women who have contacted Time’s Up, she added, are low income. A third identify as women of color, and 10% are LGBTQ.

Goss Graves said that in addition to connecting women with attorneys and media support, Time’s Up has provided financial assistance to about 50 cases.

In August, the organization distributed $750,000 in outreach grants to organizations focused on organizing low-income workers, immigrant workers, and those in hard-to-reach parts of the United States.

“Before doing that, most of our outreach really had been through in part what I call red-carpet mobilization,” Goss Graves said.

But much of the meeting was spent reflecting on the confirmation of Kavanaugh, whose nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was approved last week by the Senate despite credible allegations against him of sexual assault and misconduct.

Goss Graves warned about the ways in which Kavanaugh’s advocates in the U.S. Senate attempted to manipulate the standards by which allegations are deemed credible in order to defend the nominee.

“We know that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford provided this very credible and detailed testimony, and there is this sort of effort to say that she didn’t,” Goss Graves said. “But the second thing which was most disturbing is there was an ability to take this seriously … instead what they did was create an almost new idea that her story could not be credible if there was no one else there who said it happened. And that’s not how you determine credibility.”

Borders, in her opening remarks, zeroed in on the Kavanaugh hearings as an important cultural moment.

“We have only to look back at the hearings last week with Judge Kavanaugh to recognize that the world is not in a great place for women,” she said.

(Pictured: Lisa Borders)

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