PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn — A Brooklyn boutique owner and mother of two young boys never thought of herself as an activist — until the year leading up to 2016 election.
On Monday, Diana Kane English was arrested in Washington, D.C. for protesting Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“Like the John Lewis phrase ‘good trouble’ — sometimes you have to get in the way, get in trouble — good trouble,” Kane English said. “I did what I could. And I’ll keep doing it.”
Kane English said her interest in politics and activism began with her fight for gender equity back in 2015. For months, she fought to bring a woman into the White House. She made shirts that say “Feminist” to sell at her “Diana Kane” boutique on 5th Avenue in Park Slope.
The mother of two boys, a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old, said she felt the term was all-inclusive, and that anyone can be a “feminist.”
After Hillary Clinton lost the election and Trump claimed the presidency, Kane English rounded up more than 100 people for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in 2017.
On Sunday, she returned to the District with another group of women. This time, the sadness had been replaced with anger.
“Since Trump was elected, it’s just been one insult and atrocity after another,” Kane English said. “Now, we’re angry. The Supreme Court is so important. I regret not fighting harder.”
Kane English and a few hundred other protesters rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court Monday, some there to sway senators with their own stories of being sexually assaulted. Others, like Kane English, were there to fully support Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
“I don’t know a woman that hasn’t been a victim of some sort of sexual assault sometime in their lives — it’s a giant spectrum. We just haven’t been talking about it. Now, we can.” Kane English said. “Some situations are extreme, some not so much. All stories deserve to be heard.”
Dr. Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party 36 years ago. On Monday, two more women stepped forward with allegations against the Supreme Court pick.
Protests grew at the Supreme Court as hundreds gathered on the ground floor one of the Senate buildings chanting, “Cancel Kavanaugh,” “We believe Christine Ford.” and “We believe women.”
After three warnings by the U.S. Capitol Police, Kane English and more than 100 others were handcuffed with zip ties and transported by bus to booking where they were eventually released.
Kane English said she was scared of being arrested, but feels like she needed to put herself out there.
“When I was a small child, I was terrified while waiting in line for the roller coaster. But then you ride it and don’t want to get off,” Kane English said. “This week, I was scared of putting myself out there. Scared of being arrested. But now I’ve done it and I’m not scared anymore.”
Kane English said the whole ordeal wasn’t terrible, and the police were respectful throughout the process. A short time later, they were on their way back to Brooklyn.
“I’m a shop owner, a mom of two boys, I don’t have any qualifications to be an activist — except being interested,” Kane English said. “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
On Thursday, Dr. Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee and a riveted nation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in a locked room at a 1980s high school party, as the panel began an extraordinary and historic hearing at which Kavanaugh hoped to salvage his Supreme Court nomination.
“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified,” Ford said as she described the alleged assault. “I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened.”
“Dr. Ford was a rockstar,” Kane English said. “She was brave and so incredibly moving. She didn’t want to be there, she had nothing to gain from it. But she did it for all the women out there going through the same thing. I hope others will come forward because of her.”
Hours later, a near-shouting Kavanaugh forcefully insisted it had never happened. “I am innocent,” he told the committee. Directing his anger at the panel’s Democrats, he said his confirmation process “has become a national disgrace.”
Republican senators said Thursday that the Judiciary Committee plans to vote Friday morning on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The video below shows the moment many women, including Kane English, were arrested in Washington.