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Seattle-based singer activist arrested for using music as a form of protest in the Senate’s Russell Rotunda
Tae Phoenix arrested after performing a song to encourage senators to stand up to President Trump
January 16, 2020 |Washington, DC — Seattle-based activist singer-songwriter Tae Phoenix was arrested by Capitol police yesterday after performing Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave” in the Senate’s Russell Rotunda. Singing or engaging in any form of political demonstration in the Rotunda is illegal. Phoenix joins a long line of musicians and activists who have used singing as a form of protest, including faith leaders who in 2017 gathered at the Russell Senate Office Building to advocate for a Clean Dream Act.
Phoenix is part of a group of “Swarm the Senate” activists who are calling for the removal of President Donald Trump from office on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress contained in the two articles of impeachment, which were delivered to the U.S. Senate yesterday by the newly-appointed impeachment managers.
“I am here to call on Republican Senators to live up to their oath to do impartial justice and uphold the Constitution,” said Phoenix. “I chose to sing ‘Brave’ because it’s going to take bravery for Republicans to stand up to Trump, but they must because he is a menace to everybody now living and all the generations to come. We have urgent issues that need to be front and center: the climate emergency, poverty, systemic racism and sexism, and chaos on the world stage. We do not have time to waste on his cruelty and corruption; to say nothing of the atmosphere of bad faith he chronically engenders. Trump must go.”
The impeachment trial is headed into its second phase this week and next, as Senators are sworn in as jurors and hear arguments from Trump’s legal team and House impeachment managers. For Trump to be removed from office, at least 22 Republicans will need to break with him and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In that eventuality, Vice President Mike Pence would become President.
“As an artist, I have experienced firsthand the power of music to move people in unexpected ways. I chose to put myself at risk today with this action because I am certain that many Republican Senators have substantive reservations about this President, perhaps even enough to remove him from office. I thought that even the possibility that the votes could be out there called for a protest that might inspire them to come forward and be brave,” said Phoenix.
Swarm the Senate was initiated by a loose and diverse network of grassroots organizers from many movements, including Women’s March, Indivisible, Rise and Resist, March for Truth, and By The People. They hold that President Trump’s crimes against the Constitution, our democracy, our humanity, and our future make him utterly unfit to serve as President. They are committed to a nonviolent convergence in solidarity for liberation of all people and with honor and respect for the indigenous peoples whose land we walk upon.
Tae Phoenix is a Seattle-based activist-musician. She has performed at the Village Theatre, The Paramount, Safeco Field, and Key Arena and has toured nationally and internationally. Tae participated in the protests against Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, DC. She was arrested (along with hundreds of other activists from around the country) for singing "Somebody's Hurting My Sisters" outside of Senator Joni Ernst's (R-IA) office, in front of the Supreme Court, and in the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building. She is active within a wide range of organizations including Indivisible, Poor People's Campaign, Never Again Action, and Women's March.