This is what democracy looks like!
I’ve spent more time in the Texas Capitol in the last month than in the entire 19 years before that, and though there were times when I was tired or sick or hungry or on the verge of tears or actually crying, I never once regretted my choice to spend that time in the Capitol.
Thousands of us fought for our rights together; some of us sitting, some of us standing, but all of us together. There is no law, no piece of legislation, and no GOP campaign slogan that can wipe those memories from my mind. There is no law that can silence the women of Texas, and we will not go back.
Watching an ophthalmologist claim to be qualified to make decisions about reproductive healthcare; watching a couple in blue giggle every time a Democratic Senator explained the prevalence of child rape in America; watching women in blue claim that we were plotting to violently attack those on the other side of the aisle; watching women in blue hide their newborns from women in orange; watching Sen. Hegar table every amendment without debate and claim that he hadn’t heard testimony from rape survivors at the committee meeting; watching DPS confiscate tampons and pads from women entering the gallery; watching DPS take water and hard candy away from diabetics trying to control their blood sugar levels; watching Lt. Gov. Dewhurst adjourn for a two minute break to circumvent Senate rules, and watching 19 Republicans and 1 Democrat vote to deprive millions of Texan women of a Constitutional right and access to affordable healthcare: I would imagine it stretches the limits of anyone I know. It certainly stretched mine beyond belief.
At the same time that these things were happening, I was watching something else, too. I was watching a pro-life Senator stand up defiantly in opposition of HB2 because it wasn’t a bill designed for the health and safety of women and children; watching a woman in blue hold hands with a women in orange during incredibly emotional testimony; watching women who fought for Roe v. Wade 40 years ago fight for our right to control our own bodies all over again; watching feminists and activists from across the country send messages of support, food, and coffee as needed; watching those in the gallery tell us that they could hear us chanting and that we were keeping them strong; watching Texans refuse to allow HB2 to pass without forcing the GOP to look at us, to hear us; watching mothers and children and grandchildren put themselves at the front and center of a debate about our bodies. I was watching Texas women and the men who truly respect them fight to have their voices heard.
Let this summer spark a lifetime.