Exactly a year ago, I was at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. with my friend and colleague, Kitty Ledbetter. We got there on Inauguration Day, the day before the march, and we were shocked by how empty the place seemed to be. No one on public transportation and not many people in restaurants. Then the next day, all public transport and streets were flooded with people—so many that we were almost afraid of being crushed at one point. Then they opened all the barricades between streets and people filled all of those streets, walking toward the mall. Strolling along, singing, chanting “This is what democracy looks like,” taking care of each other, offering homemade cookies, laughing and talking with the police. It was a glorious lovefest of people shouting their outrage at the awful turn of events, but at the same time expressing nothing but love and empowerment to each other and to everyone we encountered.
The Austin Women’s March had that same magical feeling to it, with everyone talking as if we were all old friends. I saw so many people from San Marcos and Hays County, Austin, and Seguin. I saw friends from Feminists United, various democratic clubs, and many of the groups that supported my past campaigns for State Board of Education.
It was inspiring to hear Representative Donna Howard and Senator Wendy Davis speak, giving such dynamic, intelligent, and idealistic speeches about the struggle to bring health care, women’s rights, and justice for all people in Texas. I misted up a little when Wendy talked about the glory of fighting for a cause and losing, but getting up and trying again. That is the kind of courage I want to have until the day I die. That is how we should all live our lives, daring to take on what may seem idealistic or even impossible. That’s the way we make progress. In time, we win, despite every setback, because we persisted.
When LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, he thought it would lose the south for Democrats for a generation, but he did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. I’m sure he would be shocked at how long Democrats would be sidelined, but the times are changing, and time’s up. If making national progress on civil rights lost the South for Democrats in the past, it is now the issue that will turn the tide, with changing demographics and new attitudes.
I will do everything in my power to provide a fair share of our state’s bounty, rights, and resources to neglected and marginalized young people, women, people of color, LGBTQ, rural counties, working people—all those who have been under-served, ignored and exploited by this self-serving regime. It will be my privilege to listen to all our citizens and represent them enthusiastically and effectively as state representative for District 45.