Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) guest for the State of the Union Address on Tuesday will be the protestor who cornered former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in an elevator in an effort to dissuade him from voting for the confirmation of then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Ana Maria Archila, an activist and co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, confirmed to the Intercept that she was invited, reports National Review.
During the encounter with Flake in September, Archila and another woman held an elevator open that Flake was attempting to use and confronted him over his support for Kavanaugh, as The Daily Wire reported at the time.
“Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me,” said the other protesting woman, 23-year-old Maria Gallagher.
“On Monday, I stood in front of your office,” Archila said. “I told the story of my sexual assault. I told it because I recognized in Dr. Ford’s story that she is telling the truth. What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court.”
“You have children in your family — think about them,” Archila went on shouting. “I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?”
Following the confrontation, Flake called on Republicans to delay the vote and allow the FBI to investigate the allegations for one week. After the investigation, Flake ultimately voted for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
In October, Flake said that the confrontation had an impact on his call for an investigation.
“I felt for them,” Flake said on The View. “You could tell that it was genuine, and I just want them to know we hear them.”
“I just feel particularly moved that in her first participation in the State of the Union, she is inviting me to join and inviting that moment of the elevator, my confrontation with the men who do not understand the life of women and lives of people who are not in power, that’s she inviting me into that imagination of people again,” Archila said to the Intercept.
Archila added that she is a sexual assault survivor and was influenced to confront Flake and tell her story because of “the courage” she saw by “people that had been protesting for weeks” and “the courage of women who were telling their stories.”
“I would not have ever told my story otherwise — I hadn’t in 30 years,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez hinted about inviting Archila — who is a longtime activist and Queens native — last week in a tweet. “Y’all aren’t ready for NY-14’s #StateOfTheUnion guest!” she tweeted with a photo of an enamel pin, saying “well behaved women rarely make history.” Her tweet continued, “Here’s a hint: I just picked up this gift for them at our very own Lockwood Shop in Jackson Heights.”
Archila also said that she has “never felt so proud of voting for someone as when I voted for Alexandria.”
“It was really a powerful experience to feel like I was voting for someone I 100 percent believes in,” Archila said. “And this was, you know, in June of last year when we were fighting Trump’s separation of children at the border. So I voted for Alexandria in the morning and then took a train to D.C. and the next day organized the largest demonstration, the largest civil disobedience that has been done inside the halls of Congress, when 700 women got arrested in the Hart Senate building.”