I love Texas!
If you’re tired of hearing about Texas, you’ll want to go elsewhere. Over the past month, I’ve fallen in love with activists so tireless, so inspiring, so dedicated and so determined that I know they can yank their state back from the hands of the extreme conservative contingent. Wendy Davis and the unruly mob were not just a momentary phenomenon. The on-the-ground organizers were joined that day by previously unaware citizens — those whose daily lives take most of their time and who pay attention to politics only when elections roll around. They filled the capital and shouted down a vote, literally screaming for their rights. Their voices scratchy and their solidarity solidified, they marched, rather than going straight home. They now see clearly what is happening in their statehouse and it is not ok with them.
Sarah Slamen said it as she was being dragged out of the legislative chamber by armed guards because the elected officials didn’t like her testimony being used to hold them accountable:
Thank you for finally working against us women so publicly and not in the shadows like you used to…You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us…Women and their allies are coming for you.
These pictures and videos should do more than inspire those of us in “safe blue states.” They should serve as an important reminder to the left: all the people in all the places matter. Geography should not determine access to healthcare, education and the pursuit of happiness anywhere — but especially in this country. That a region of the United States larger than France…
— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady) November 19, 2013
…has no abortion provider is obscene. This is the UNITED STATES. My state not sharing a physical border with Texas is irrelevant to my caring about the 26 million people who call it home. I love Texas because I love people. Human beings matter to me and I will fight for them anywhere I think I can make a difference.
To the empathy deficient:
If that seems bizarre to you and dredging up empathy for folks thousands of miles away who may speak or live differently than you do sounds exhausting or unnecessary, there is a more selfish reason to care about what’s happening in Texas. It’s about you. What’s happening there affects you. In dollars and cents and resources, if you need that acknowledged. But also for a much more important reason: the extreme conservative movement has a long game. Don’t believe for one minute that those quotes we heard in 2012 about birth control and legitimate rape and emergency contraception being an abortifacient were isolated or that the Koch-funded right-wing is stopping at the Lone State boarders.
Justice Scalia’s decision last week puts the Fifth Circuit Court’s seal of approval on the admitting privileges provision in HB2, upholding a TRAP law which has been struck down in several states. Unconstitutional abortion restrictions were pushed in Texas for this specific reason. Anti-choice groups can now seek recourse at the Supreme Court level in an attempt to overturn Roe. That means ending abortion care for the entire country. That means in your state.
So wake up and get on board. Now. Right now. Find out what’s happening in your own backyard. There may be an Albuquerque-style law being pushed in your city or state. Your senator may be introducing a 20-week ban (looking at you, Sen. Lindsey Graham). Your city council could be zoning out clinics based on bullshit provisions snuck through in the last session.
Last week I helped throw an emergency fundraiser for Texas abortion care and it was the most rewarding and empowering endeavor I’ve ever attempted. (I ended up with producer credits — how ’bout that?!) And it was totally addictive. So I’m making you this promise: if it is within my power to highlight, yell about, broadcast, write on or otherwise draw attention to what is happening where you live I will do it. Email and tweet me stories and pictures and narratives of reproductive healthcare issues you’re facing. If I can, I’ll connect you to the people organizing in your area or writing about the issues and I’ll help amplify their work and yours through every platform I can find. If I can’t find one, I’ll create one.
We are in this together. All of us. This is more than an attack on one corner of the country, more than just misogynist jerks chipping away at access for marginalized groups. It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about our home — our country. We decide. We choose.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
I would be remiss if I didn’t post clips from and individually thank the hosts who had me to on help get the word out for the #TexasWomenForever telethon on November 18. We raised over $55,000 in three hours from more than 800 individual donors. The thank yous that still bring tears to my eyes from those lives that were saved and activists who feel less alone…they are because you told your listeners to watch and how to help. You are allies in this fight and I am grateful for your voices.
Matt Filipowicz: The Matthew Filipowicz Show, November 14, 2013
Michael Brooks: The Majority Report, November 15, 2013
If you found this post informative, entertaining, helpful, etc. you can subscribe to the Katie Speak Mailer which has all my posts, Tawkers live chats, radio segments and activism info. You can also click SUPPORT to keep me speaking and follow me on Facebook and twitter. Thanks!
Categories: Speaking Up