It started on February 7, after Elizabeth Warren was pretty much told to shut up as she tried to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., on the Senate floor. Warren had raised the letter in objection to Sessions' nomination to attorney general.
In the letter, written when Sessions was a nominee for a federal judgeship, Coretta King accused Sessions of trying to stop black people from voting. Interrupting her time on the floor, Warren's GOP colleagues barred her from speaking for the rest of the debate (although she managed to read the letter later on Facebook).
“Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said later. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
It didn’t take long for those final two words to gain traction around the internet, becoming a rallying cry for women warned, like Warren, or otherwise condescended to, ignored, silenced, even attacked. Women who, nevertheless, persisted.
— Mockingjay2017 ???? (@txmockingjay) March 20, 2017
San Jose author and artist Courtney Privett felt moved to post a work she called Nevertheless, She Persisted, which depicts a woman facing a wall of words and phrases that women begin hearing in childhood.