“You Do Not Speak For Us!” – Thousands Of Suburban Women Against Trump Deliver Scathing Open Letter

Brook Manewal and Kamala Harris at a fundraiser Brook organized in Greenwich, CT for Kamala Harris for President. Image by Kristen Blush

The message is clear: don’t use Suburban women as your weapon or as a cover for dog-whistle racism. That is one of the core messages from a group of Suburban Women across the country who have galvanized and organized en masse to show Trump that he does not get to claim “ownership” over the demographic, and he is underestimated the power of the female vote if he does.

Data may have shown that more White women voted for Trump in 2016 than they did Hillary Clinton, but that was 4 years ago and a LOT has happened. We don’t have the bandwidth to go through every single one of Trump’s failures, lies, and manipulations since getting elected (we highly recommend checking out Amy Siskind’s The Weekly List for a comprehensive run down of every atrocity he has enacted since taking office), we do know that once of the biggest movements that has completely shaken the political landscape in the United States since 2016 is the way women have risen up, organized, run for office, WON elected office positions, and disrupted the establishment in every way.

One of the latest groups of women to do just this is S.W.A.T – Suburban Women Against Trump – formed by Connecticut woman Brook Manewal. Brook was inspired to take action and get off the sidelines after the 2016 election, and is part of the aforementioned movement of women shaking up the political system. Brook is one of the thousands of women across the country who stepped up to run for local office after the 2016 presidential election for the first time ever – and won! Today she is a Stamford Democratic City Committee representative, and attorney, who has been organizing suburban women to get more involved in government since 2016. Along with a number of other women like her, the main objective is to see new leadership in the White House, and with less than 3 months to go until the Presidential election on November 3, Brook and her cohort are not wasting time making this objective a reality.

In response to a Tweet from Trump who essentially claimed he will “preserve” their neighborhoods while Biden tries to “destroy” them, Brook galvanized a group of Suburban women who are not Trump supporters and refuse to be counted among his “base”, to make their voices heard.

“What Trump is doing is right in line with the patriarchal tradition of speaking for women without speaking to women first. For too long men have acted and spoken like they know what’s best for women without doing the work and actually speaking to those women and seeing what they want,” Brook said.

In the first 48 hours of its inception, the S.W.A.T. Team – Suburban Women Against Trump – had garnered almost a thousand members though an autonomous “secret” Facebook group, where one can only become a member when invited by someone they know. In less than two weeks, the group seeking a change in the Executive Branch ballooned to over 4,000 members across more than thirty states.

Formed just ahead of the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate, the S.W.A.T. Team’s mission is to reach out to one of America’s largest voting blocks, “suburban women”, inspire people to reach out to their friends — especially undecided voters — and get out the vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on November 3, 2020. Brook’s support for Kamala started with the Senator’s own presidential campaign, where she attended and organized events for her candidacy.

“I am 100% percent team Kamala. I fundraised and campaigned for her actively during the primary. She has shown that she is willing to speak truth to power, that she is going to hold people accountable, but she also brings with her such compassion and warmth,” she said.

But the Team aren’t just galvanizing to vote Trump out of office, they are letting him know that he cannot claim the Suburban Women vote for himself. On August 18 which was the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (giving White women the right to vote), S.W.A.T women gathered for a virtual March on Washington, where an estimated thousands of letters were mailed to Donald Trump and shared with women and organizations across America. In their “Open Letter to Donald Trump”, created by the group in the form of a pink slip notice, it uses the president’s own famous catch phrase against him to express what suburban women voters are going to tell Trump on Election Day: “You’re Fired.”

Brook Manewal speaking to people at the #PinkWave Rally for Women’s Rights in Stamford, CT on January 20, 2020.

“We are sending our Open Letter to Donald Trump to make it clear to him that he does not have the vote of suburban women like he thinks he does,” explained Brook in a press release.

“The misogynist ideas to which Trump and his Party have subscribed play into his idea of the role of ‘suburban women’, and he makes a direct correlation between the submissive roles he has assigned us, with no consideration of the fact that we are human beings,” says Shira Tarantino, one of S.W.A.T.’s co-leaders, community activist and non-profit manager.

“His calling out of suburban women was laden with racist overtones. He painted a picture using language right out of the racist playbook, stoking fears in suburban women and telling us that we should be afraid of low-income housing and fear for our safety, which is entirely untrue,” she added.

The S.W.A.T. Team shares with their members best practices in organizing and getting people activated. It offers specific calls-to-action for members to follow, such as mailing the Open Letter using the United States Postal Service – one of America’s oldest and most reliable social services which Donald Trump is trying to dismantle – making calls in support of Joe Biden, and in flippable districts, phone banking for down-ballot candidates and sending postcards to voters.

The Open Letter to Donald Trump is a vehicle of action to inspire women who identify as ‘suburban’ to reach out to their friends and family.

“We were moved to rise up and organize, because we know that a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for the Supreme Court, and a vote to dismantle the damage our current president has created,” said Shira, who also pointed out that Trump weaponizing Suburban Woman for his gain is actually straight out of his misogynistic playbook.

“Once again, Donald Trump is using women solely for his pleasure, this time by making us the shield for his racism. Explicit and implicit gender bias feeds off of society like a virus, breaking women down until we are unable to run for office because we don’t have affordable childcare, or because society continues to demonize rising female political stars and established women leaders. No woman is immune. A virus needs a host, and because of our culture’s built-in systemic misogyny, society is collectively vulnerable to the threat of hatred of women and woman-identifying people. This hatred has nothing to do with the politics or the issues themselves, but rather, is a vehicle of oppression, to keep us from becoming equal leaders in every facet of society,” she said.

Since releasing their letter and organizing women across the country, S.W.A.T’s actions have been featured in the New York Times, and their momentum is not about to slow down. As they work to restore the soul of the nation, these women are choosing to be on the frontlines of the battle and put Trump as well as any elected official on notice: do NOT take women for granted and do not assume your seat is secure because of the Suburban vote. Because as women like Brook have shown with her own determination, Suburban women will retaliate in the best way possible – by running for office themselves AND winning.

“Our letter serves as a catalyst for women to have a conversation about how damaging Donald Trump has been for our country,” said Shira.

You can read the full open open letter to Trump below:

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