As the morning started, Senator Wendy Davis began a filibuster that would extend over 13 hours to stop an anti-abortion bill from passing in a special session of the Texas Senate. Texas politics, as you can imagine, is complex (AKA nonsensical), and throughout the day there were multiple rulings made to try to end her stand. I had personally intended to head to the Texas state capital after 11am hoping that I would be able to stay until midnight. As many of the woman who would have been effected by the passing of Senate Bill 5 know, when you have financial requirements and multiple jobs, it's hard to commit to something that would take you away from work and your financial means of survival. It wasn't until the late afternoon that Beth and I were able to leave our jobs early and head out to the capital, but we did so brimming with excitement. We hopped on a bus and were giddy seeing other woman traveling to the capital with signs and wearing orange to show solidarity.
Surprisingly, yesterday's visit to the capital was my first; it's huge!! We navigated our way to the Senate auditorium (by following the sea of orange) and immediately stepped into line to watch Sen. Davis first hand. The line stretched around the rotunda and we saw familiar faces waiting to take it all in themselves. After 20 minutes, which only felt like 5, we were allowed into the gallery were admittance was "one in, one out" and we found our seats. It was truly exciting and I felt privileged to be participating in what felt like transparent government. We watched and listened for a half hour before heading out to allow others to experience live, civil protest.
Appreciation needs to be expressed to the organizations that worked hard to set everything up yesterday. There was an "overflow" auditorium that probably held 300 people where the proceedings were streaming live . Our friend Elia showed us the ropes and took us down to yet another room set up to house the supporters of Sen. Davis' filibuster. Donations of food and drink had been coming in throughout the day so that everybody would be able to stay and "stand with Wendy." Whole Foods, East Side Pies, Gourdough's Donuts, and pizza as far as the eye can see were available for free. Friends later told me that they saw pizza boxes with sharpie messages like, "Go, Wendy, Go" and "Support from Illinois" written on them. It was truly magical.
Last night I tried to think of my last role model and I can't honestly say that I've ever had one. Sure, I wanted to be Madonna during her "virginal" days and once I even said I wanted to grow up to be Boy George, but that's about it. As for heroes, mine was my Grandpaw, simply because he showed love and understanding like I had never experienced before. At 31, I feel like I have finally found my hero, my role model and well, quite frankly, it feels empowering.
I was fortunate enough to be raised during the "you can be anything you want to be" era and was always taught that I had the ability to succeed with hard work and education. Growing up, my father would always tell me that I was smart and beautiful and that smart, beautiful, women could do whatever it was they dreamt of. At times, I've frequently thought he was trying to inspire me with sexist sentiment, but quiet frankly he's right. A smart woman is a powerful thing, and if she is beautiful on top of that, she will be listened to by even the most misogynist prick! Yesterday, I saw smart, powerful, and beautiful women change Texas and god damnit, I'm a proud lady!
|Cecile Richards in the gallery of the Texas Senate|
|My hero, Senator Wendy Davis|