Former students of Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, hand-delivered a letter signed by over 1,000 graduates in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a fellow alumna who recently stepped forward to accuse U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape, to members of the U.S. Congress.
“We believe Dr. Blasey Ford and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story. It demands a thorough and independent investigation,” said the letter. “Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.”
“Holton’s motto teaches students to ‘find a way or make one.’ We dream of making a world where women are free from harassment, assault, and sexual violence.”
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Alexis Goldstein, a member of Holton-Arms’ class of 1999, said they had delivered copies of the letter to several lawmakers, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who both appeared at the press conference. Hirono is expected to add the letter to the official Judiciary Committee record. A copy was also delivered to Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV), a Holton-Arms alumna herself.
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“We wanted to make sure that every alumnae had a chance to see the letter and sign it, so that’s why we delivered it to Sen. Capito today,” said Goldstein. “We certainly encourage her to sign. She’s an alum. We have an honor code at Holton that the community takes pretty seriously, and we just really hope that she considers signing.”
The group stressed that they weren’t trying to push a particular political message, but they hoped to influence their fellow alum, Sen. Capito, to call for a full and fair investigation of Ford’s allegations.
Speaking to Rewire.News, Goldstein pointed out that the Holton-Arms community is very small, with about 80 students in each graduating class. “While a thousand sounds big, it’s really big for our community. So it’s a pretty significant chunk of our community,” she said, pointing out that there were even more who wouldn’t or couldn’t sign. “A lot of members of the Holton alumnae community said they wanted to sign but couldn’t because of their job. So we know there are more people who want to sign but can’t.”
Ford’s allegations have brought attention to the private girls school based in a wealthy Washington, D.C., suburb, but Goldstein said she and other former students are proud of their fellow alumnae. “I think Holton-Arms, at least the alumnae, are a group of really tough people,” she said, pointing out that the school hosts grades 3 through 12. “I do obviously worry about the current students; many of them are still children. So I just would obviously hope that everyone respect their privacy and respect their autonomy.”
The message that former Holton-Arms students want lawmakers to take away from the letter is one of solidarity with their former classmate. “One of the things we chanted when I was a student when we were doing sports was ‘Don’t mess!’” said Goldstein. “So we want to say: Don’t mess with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, don’t mess with our community, and don’t mess with survivors.”