I’m tired of the nonsense from Washington. In the midst of a global pandemic that has left a million Americans dead, and a global climate catastrophe that threatens the future of humanity and all life on Earth, Washington is spending nearly $800 billion every year on weapons and war, instead of meeting the needs confronting our communities, and the future we all share.

That’s why I’m writing to invite you to join me in doing our part together to force a course correction—before the future is forced to pay an incalculable price.

In June (and hopefully, again in November), San Francisco has the opportunity to vote for someone willing to speak up even when it’s not politically expedient. I want to explain why I support Shahid Buttar as the next elected Representative for California’s 11th congressional district.

Each of us has the chance to stand up and reclaim your power from billionaires and corporations. Can you contribute whatever you can comfortably afford today to send a movement champion to Washington?

My decision to support Shahid did not come lightly. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a powerful woman who has broken glass ceilings and risen to the very top of our government. Her example has inspired many women, including me.

But she’s also chosen to stand in the way of programs that I know Americans need. Universal healthcare—which she once claimed to support—has been sitting on her desk for 30 years. Her decision to block it has forced Americans to bear levels of medical debt never seen before in human history.

Pelosi opposes calls to cancel student debt, absurdly arguing that Americans should have the right not to pay the costs of others—ignoring, of course, that we’re all forced to pay the Pentagon’s inflated costs, whether we like it or not. Meanwhile, we’re all funding a proxy war in Yemen that has killed nearly half a million people.

The Speaker of the House has been no friend to the working class. Freezing the federal minimum wage for over a decade, while engineering repeated tax breaks favoring the wealthy, reveals her priorities. Kids are still in cages at our nation’s borders, detained without rights under administrations led by Republicans and Democrats alike in camps that she funded without protections for human rights.

I know change isn’t going to come from the top-down.

We’re going to have to force it, from the bottom-up!

Speaking truth to power isn’t always easy, but the real mark of a truthteller is that they don’t care about the consequences. Can you join me in supporting another voice with that same commitment?

I’ve watched Shahid speak truth to power, and I’ve watched him pay a price for it. He demonstrates the kind of commitment to the future that I want to see in policymakers.

For example, Shahid deserves credit for raising the controversy about congressional insider trading years before anyone in Washington. After establishment media and lawmakers on both sides finally took notice, Nancy (who is among the wealthiest members of a Congress composed mostly of millionaires) abandoned her previous opposition to reform.

It’s not the first time that Shahid and his campaign forced the Speaker of the House to shift positions. Last year, after her initial refusal, we forced Pelosi to support the Protecting Right to Organize Act to make it easier for workers to form unions and enforce their rights against union-busting employers.

That’s especially important now, as we see inspiring movements of workers from teachers to baristas, Amazon warehouse workers, and miners taking action to assert their rights. Shahid showed solidarity when the powerful, wealthy Speaker of the House found it inconvenient.

It’s a pattern that has defined his career. In the 2000s, Pelosi hedged her bets on marriage equality, leaving LGBTQ rights to the states. Shahid, in sharp contrast, was one of our country’s first legal advocates for the rights of LGBTQ couples to marry.

Even before the Ferguson uprising in 2014, Shahid was organizing campaigns from coast-to-coast to end racial profiling. Meanwhile, Pelosi was instructing Democrats to pander to the movement for Black lives without embracing its demands. Later, she knelt in Congress wearing kente cloth, while passing a bill named after George Floyd that would expand police budgets and surveillance.

Shahid has stood for principles—like justice, accountability, opportunity, and fairness—long before they become popular. That’s why I stand with him.

Can you join me & Shahid and help us end the Pelosi dynasty? The future isn’t here to protect itself—so the voices taking action in the present to keep it alive need and deserve your support.

Despite having publicly pledged that 2020 would be her final term as Speaker, Nancy is running again, and might be twisting the political process to favor her family. Her daughter, Christine, was named as her potential successor by reporters in 2021 and 2022, despite having never wielded public office or run for any seat.

I had an indirect interaction with Christine after I endorsed Bernie Sanders, as well as Shahid, in 2020. Christine called Bernie, and the New York Times reported that she was upset that I had endorsed Shahid. Why is the daughter of the Speaker of the House calling a presidential candidate to complain about who I, an actress, support?

Entitlement is always ugly, but it’s worse when wielded by people with power. The possibility of a child inheriting a congressional seat from her wealthy mother offends democracy, even if the Pelosis weren’t trying to game the election process by setting up a special election to favor Christine in the same way that Nancy won her seat in 1987.

The oligarchy that the United States is descending into isn’t limited to the entitlement of elites. It includes the demonization—even the detention and incarceration—of American citizens whose only crime was to challenge corporate corruption.

Steven Donziger, a human rights lawyer who challenged Chevron’s refusal to clean up indigenous land along the Amazon River, was just freed from house arrest after enduring the first corporate prosecution in our country’s history.

Reality Winner, who discovered a document indicating Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election and shared it with the press, served nearly three years in prison.

Julian Assange continues to face prosecution for the crime of exposing government secrets, threatening the rights of journalists to report the truth, and the public’s right to know it.

Over the course of his congressional campaigns, Shahid has been openly critical of this corruption. He fought for civil rights, peace & justice, and constitutional limits on government power from the streets to the courtroom. He’s the only national non-profit leader I’ve ever known to be arrested in the Senate for an act of journalism.

Shahid is not only a fierce political voice, but also a poet and musician. His revolutionary spirit is reflected in his poetry, and his voice is as fearless as it is insightful. It’s exactly what the Left needs in Congress.

Shahid‘s campaign brings to mind the words of another poet and singer/songwriter, the late Leonard Cohen. In his song “Anthem,” he sings, “They’ve summoned up a thundercloud, and they’re going to hear from me.”

Please donate whatever you can afford in order to join me, send Shahid to Congress, and ensure that they hear from Us.

Sincerely,
Susan