The growing list of prominent, and influential men across various high-profile professions and industries who have recently been called out for abusing their positions of power and authority to grope, grab, drug, harass, and assault others is staggering and sickening. Victims who come forward often take years, even decades, to find the strength to share their harrowing stories, due to threats of litigation, intimidation and malicious scrutiny. To the incredibly brave women and men who have spoken out and continue to speak out, the Heart of L.A. Democratic Club stands with you. We applaud your courage and we are grateful that you have repeatedly put this issue front and center of our national conversation. To be sure, despite media reports, this is not a problem that exists solely among a class of privileged individuals. President Trump, Roy Moore, and other prominent politicians and candidates are not the only ones whose actions we condemn. Sexual assault and harassment are everyday occurrences, and are a systemic problem that span across economic strata and industries. Whether a woman is a famous actress or a hospitality industry employee or farmworker, the fundamental issue remains the same - the abuse of power through sexual intimidation stifles our spirits and limits our potential. We must take affirmative steps across all strata of our society to create safe and supportive work environments, vigorously investigate claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and teach our men, women, boys, and girls the importance of mutual respect.
Nothing short of personal, sustained action within our own circles of influence will result in the change we wish to see. The seriousness of sexual misconduct demands serious consequences, and we all need to walk the walk as allies to those who have been oppressed. This may be challenging and risky at times, but it is necessary to achieving progress for everyday individuals in our communities.
In California, we are heartened to see that the Legislature is now taking concrete steps to address multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against two prominent Democratic legislators: Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). As of the date of this statement, both men have been removed from their leadership positions in the legislature, and an outside law firm has been engaged to investigate the allegations. These are positive steps in the right direction. We also hope to see greater transparency in the investigative process, and encourage the leadership to safeguard everyone in the political industry from further risks of harassment and retaliation.
And to the women who want their friends and relatives to live in a world where sexual harassment is no longer tolerated we say - perhaps it’s time for you to run for political office.