On Monday, singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile announced her decision to drop out of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C., at which she was scheduled to have a conversation with event chair Pattie Sellers and perform a few songs. Her reason for doing so was the summit’s inclusion of former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, whose handling of U.S. border policy under Donald Trump she called an “atrocity.”
In a letter posted on Twitter, Carlile touched on how honored she was to be included, and how she always preferred to be present for such events.
With respect and gratitude. pic.twitter.com/rhKpRYf6gF
— Brandi Carlile (@brandicarlile) October 21, 2019
“Dropping out of such a special appearance is rarely my style,” she wrote. “I believe in showing up and lending my voice.”
The fact that Nielsen was to appear at the same summit was something Carlile couldn’t reconcile, given her longstanding support of human rights.
“I don’t think that human rights violators and merit-based abusers of displaced people should be given a platform to ‘reimagine’ history,” she wrote. “The atrocity of family separation at our Southern border needs to go down in history as one of the United States of America’s most merciless acts.”
In true Carlile fashion, she made this powerful stand while also gently offering forgiveness for Nielsen.
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“I wish her well and hope that she comes to understand the error in her part of this shameful policy.”
Carlile is the latest high-profile woman to drop out of the summit over Nielsen’s inclusion. In recent days, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and filmmaker Dream Hampton both announced their plans to bow out. An online petition asking Fortune to remove Nielsen as a speaker currently has more than 50,000 signatures. Still scheduled to appear at the summit, which runs October 21st to 23rd, are former U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, representative and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, and fashion designer Tory Burch.