When she started the We Said Enough campaign, lobbyist Adama Iwu wanted to call out the atmosphere of harassment and assault in and around the California state Capitol. Now she’s pictured on the cover of the new Time Magazine. Iwu is among a group Time calls “The Silence Breakers,” women and men who have spoken up about sexual harassment in their industries.
It was Iwu who first decided to write an open letter denouncing the Capitol’s culture of harassment.
While Iwu’s efforts are focused on Sacramento, she says women everywhere need to be protected.
“I work in the California State Legislature,” Iwu says, “but one of the women who was on the cover with me is a woman who works in the fields. And she basically is raising the very same issues that I was.”
Iwu says the Legislature has been slow to act on specific requests to make women in the Capitol safer. The We Said Enough campaign wants a confidential hotline for victims and further action on whistleblower protections for Capitol staff.
Among the women who originally signed the letter was Annie Lam, whose husband, Anthony Rendon, is speaker of the state Assembly.
In an interview with KQED today, Rendon acknowledged that his wife had helped educate him about the issue, based in part of her own experiences with harassment in Sacramento.
“Whereas I think I was focused on our policy and procedures and those types of things, she helped bring those to life by telling me real stories that real people had experienced,” Rendon said.
The Assembly has earned praise from women for holding a hearing on its sexual harassment policies.
The Senate is hiring an outside law firm to investigate harassment complaints in that chamber, but is yet to have a public hearing on the matter.