Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) announced that her guest to the State of the Union will be Anny Gonzalez, an airplane cleaner who endured persistent sexual harassment at her job. Clark hopes Gonzalez’s story will spotlight sexual harassment as an economic issue, the #MeToo movement’s role in the service and hospitality industries, and the challenges workers face in coming forward. Gonzalez will be seated in the U.S. House chamber gallery as President Trump delivers his State of the Union address.
“When the president looks up at our guests, I want him to see the face of a mom who was forced to decide between reporting abuse and making sure her daughter was fed,” said Clark. “Millions of women in the service industry contend with assault, harassment, and abuse from more powerful people because they feel like they have no other choice. The #MeToo movement has to be about creating a safe environment for victims to come forward, establishing accountability, and demanding action from our leaders, including our president.”
Reports have indicated that factors like income, language, and citizenship status present barriers to reporting abuse. A Chicago study reported that as many as 60 percent of hospitality workers reported sexual harassment on the job.