WASHINGTON — Christine Ingles wore a black dress, her mouth covered with black duct tape as she trudged silently in a line of similarly dressed women through the Hart Senate building Friday.
"It was a funeral procession for women's rights," said Ingles, 65, of Northville, who traveled to the Capitol last week to protest Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We see women's rights getting buried, going back to the '50s and we're not going to be silent anymore.
"They've been trying to silence us. ... They're trying to shove us back in the box, put us back in the kitchen. ... I'm not going back."
Inside the second-floor chambers where the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings stretched into a fourth day Friday, shouts interrupted the questioning.
"SAVE ROE, VOTE NO!" one woman yelled. Another woman, wearing a red bandanna in the style of Rosie the Riveter, joined her: "HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT!"
Senators stopped speaking mid-sentence. Officers lining the walls of the chamber pounced on the women, dragging them out of the large wood-paneled room.
Despite the theatrics, this wasn't chaos. It was an organized effort to disrupt and delay the confirmation hearings. Many risked arrest.
"I’ve never been arrested before this week," said Stephanie Kenner, a Detroiter who moved last month to Washington. "Now I have — twice.
"The escalated response is required," said Kenner, who is 30 and was part of the organizing committee for last year's Women's Convention in Detroit. "You have to do something out of the ordinary when things are out of the ordinary."
Michigan women among protesters
The Women’s March organizers are a steady force, a persistent group that doesn’t always gain national exposure for its efforts to pressure Republicans and thwart their conservative agenda. Yet they’ve made it clear they’re not going away as they find new and different ways to voice their often loud objections, sometimes coordinating and teaming up with other activist groups.