Statement in support of Ed Fallon 3/13/20
In 2014, I walked every step for over 3,000 miles for 8 months across the USA with a group of climate activists known as The Great March for Climate Action. The March was founded by Ed Fallon, a former Iowa legislator who I did not know before I signed up. Over the 246 days we spent walking an average of over 15 miles most days, cooking our food, pitching our tents, holding rallies and meetings with people across the country to share our story and concerns, and living in a small community that averaged about 35-40 people, we got to know one another quite well under extremely challenging circumstances.
While there were numerous challenges and differences among us and with Ed, we carried on and somehow, miraculously and with enormous effort and determination, we arrived at our destination at the White House on schedule. It was a heroic accomplishment.
That is all to say that I have known and observed Ed very closely over time on a daily basis. While I observed many unfortunate instances of “old white guy patriarchal behaviors” that related to his leadership style, I never once saw or heard anything that indicated he was behaving inappropriately with any of the women in our company. He did share a tent with one woman for part of the time, and while I was clearly not privy to what happened within those walls, it was abundantly clear to everyone that whatever it was (which could have been anything ranging from friendly roommates to lovers), it was totally consensual.
It is my observation and belief that Ed learned a lot from pushback he received on the March and since then while engaging in a broad range of activism. I have been involved in many of those actions. It is apparent to me that he has, over the subsequent 6 years, moderated what I’m calling his “old white guy patriarchal behaviors.” From my perspective, it has been a bumpy ride for him in that regard. I think his current partnership with a woman I like and admire very much has boosted that learning curve quite a bit.
But being an “old white patriarchal guy” is not the same as behaving as sexual predator.
I was contacted by Heather Pearson, a fellow activist who I know. Heather has levied charges against Ed for sexual predation. She wanted me to jump on her bandwagon and condemn him for #MeToo behaviors. I declined. She berated me when I refused.
I declined because I did not have any such experience with Ed, did not know anyone else who had, and because I found it hard to believe based on my lengthy observations of him. I think Ed showed poor judgment in sharing a tent on the March and also by putting himself in a compromising situation in accepting Heather’s offer to share a hotel room, but that is not the same thing as inappropriate, unwanted sexual advances or sexual assault. Perhaps it had more to do with misplaced trust.
Whatever the motivation behind this accusation, I do not stand with the accuser. In this instance, I stand with Ed Fallon.
I certify under penalty of perjury and pursuant to the laws of the state of Iowa that the preceding is true and correct.
Mayor, Great March for Climate Action
Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition
100Grannies for a Livable Future
Iowa City Climate Advocates/CCL