Citizens protest attorney general nomination

Emma Austin

Bowling Green resident Denise Anderson woke up Wednesday morning, checked her Facebook and saw the news Sen. Elizabeth Warren had been prevented from speaking against Sen. Jeff Session’s nomination as Attorney General the night before. Anderson immediately threw on a pair of jeans and hastily wrote a sign expressing her protest before heading downtown to join nearly 20 Bowling Green citizens in delivering around 600 letters to Sen. Rand Paul’s office urging him to vote against the appointment.

Anderson, 61, said she was “appalled” by the way Sen. Warren was prevented from speaking on the nomination Tuesday night after she read a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986, which expressed King’s opposition to the confirmation of Sessions as a federal district court judge.

In the letter, King wrote Sessions had “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

After being prevented from finishing the letter, Warren tweeted she “will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments” and she “will not be silent while the Republicans rubber stamp an AG who will never stand up to the @POTUS when he breaks the law.”

Anderson said she often participates in political activism; her husband worked for Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.

Apart from Sessions’ reputation as a racist, Anderson said she also worries about his climate change denial. Anderson said she wants to tell Sen. Paul he should think about representing the people of his hometown and state when making his voting decision on Sessions.

Mary Grayson Batts, age 21, said she was able to use social media to reach out to local groups to rally citizens this morning to deliver the letters.

“There’s a whole lot of progressive energy here,” Batts said. “There’s a lot of folks that are excited and ready to do something and don’t always know what to do.”

Batts has spent the past few years working on political campaigns and said she wants to do whatever she can to help people take political action.

“Within a few hours we had folks that cared a lot about this,” Batts said.

Shortly after 8:30 Wednesday morning, an employee from Paul’s office came out to receive the letters from the crowd on the sidewalk. Members of the crowd walked up one by one, repeating “ask him to reject Jeff Sessions,” as they made their deliveries.

After the letters were delivered, Anderson continued walking downtown with some of the other protestors, carrying signs reading, “Know justice, no Sessions.” Some passersby honked and waved at the group; one car driver slowed to give a thumbs-down sign as he drove past.

Bowling Green resident Claudia Hanes said she takes every opportunity for political activism to do what she can as a voice for justice.

“My personal feeling is if Jeff Sessions gets to be the Attorney General, there’s going to be no justice,” Hanes said. “It’s going to allow the Trump administration to do whatever they want, when they want and how they want.”

Hanes said one of her goals as an activist is to encourage people to spend more time thinking about what’s going on and learn what’s at stake.

“It feels like the conservative movement has completely lost its soul when it comes to justice issues,” Hanes said. 

Reporter Emma Austin can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected].