OAKLAND, Calif. - Samuel Getachew, a junior at Oakland Technical High School, didn’t want one of his female friends to think that he was the only guy who had something to say about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and his abhorrence to sexual assault.
And after tossing and turning since Friday, the 16-year-old activist decided to speak out through an original video he wrote, directed, edited and posted to social media on Tuesday.
Together with two friends -- Justin Walton, 16, who attends Oakland School for the Arts and Tim Johnson Jr. of Los Angeles, 18 – the trio delivered a powerful message about men who won’t stand for violence against women.
Samuel, who also has been vocal about gun rights, wrote the script over the last few days and asked his friends to read their lines at home and send him their video.
Late Monday night, he edited the clips together, with each young men starting sentences, and then finishing the thoughts of the other.
Samuel wanted to address the age of Kavanaugh at the time he was accused of groping Christine Blasey Ford by climbing on top of her and covering her mouth to muffle her screams at a party in the 1980s. The now-confirmed justice was 17. Kavanaugh denies those allegations.
“Boys will be boys, they say,” Justin says.
“I am here to say as a young man in America...” Tim says.
“...I understand that sexual harassment in America is wrong,” Justin adds.
“Regardless of age,” Samuel says, finishing the thought. “I’m here to say I stand with survivors.”
The video goes on to urge young people to vote for change, and to fight against rape culture and misogyny. The video also addresses a major point for Samuel; that wealthy white men are often not held accountable for their actions, as people of color usually are.
Not everyone agrees with this sentiment. During Kavanaugh's hearing last week, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham gave his fiery support for Kavanaugh, declaring the judge a victim in a Democratic-inspired political sham. And President Trump last week said the reaction to Kavanaugh’s misconduct makes it "a very scary time for young men in America."
Kavanaugh has never been convicted of any crime related to Blasey Ford’s allegations. And after the FBI conducted an investigation into Kavanaugh, the Senate confirmed him on Saturday in a contentious vote.
But for Samuel and his friends, letting women know that they believe them and support them is important.
“I say this because as a young man in America, I understand that this culture can only change,” Samuel says.
“If I use my privilege to shift it,” Tim says.
The end of the video promises women and girls that “we as young men in 2018 are committed to doing better than our predecessors.”