One year ago today, Wendy Davis stood up and ushered in a new era in Texas political history.
Throughout the day today, some of your Burnt Orange Report staffers will be offering their own personal recollections of the filibuster and their perspectives on it now and everything that has happened since.
But first, before we start remembering, the entire state still owes a tremendous thank you to the many people that made that historic day possible, over the weeks and months that came before it.
Below the jump, join us in thanking many of the people who worked so hard to usher in a new hope for progressives in Texas politics.So much thanks is owed to so many people who made that moment in which Wendy Davis began the filibuster and all of the hours and days that followed possible.
Thank you Senator Wendy Davis for having the courage to stand up — not just this time, but against the cuts to education in 2011 and to the Senate budget in 2013. You showed us that Democrats can and should stand up for our values at every single opportunity.
Thank you to Senators Leticia Van de Putte, Kirk Watson, and John Whitmire for keeping the debate going after Davis received her third warning, making sure we made it all the way to midnight. Thank you to Senator Rodney Ellis for providing Senator Davis with a back brace and in so doing enabling the Republicans to show how desperate they were to stop Democrats from defending women's rights.
Equally as important are all of the people who started the public opposition to the bill, and got Wendy Davis within range of a filibuster to run out the clock and block this terrible bill.
Thank you to the volunteers with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Planned Parenthood who showed up in orange shirts and “Mad Men”-era garb, respectively, at the first hearings against this bill. You created the initial impetus to physically bring your bodies into the building that was attacking your very autonomy, which grew and grew into a grassroots phenomenon.
Thank you Representative Mary Gonzalez and your legislative staff (particularly former BOR staff writer Shelby Alexander) for sending the clarion call that started it all before the State House Affairs hearing, helping to draw the crowd that provided citizen testimony all through the night.
Thank you to the staffers at the Texas Democratic Party and Travis County Democratic Party and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Planned Parenthood and Lilith Fund for building a crowd for that hearing and every day that followed. Your supporters slowed the process and made clear that public input was being shut out.
Thank you to the organizers of Blue Ribbon Lobby Day who activated a statewide network of Democratic women to send bodies on buses and make phone calls, write emails, lend support, and highlight what was going in Austin back in on your own communities.
Thank you to the Democratic State Representatives who — lacking Jodie Laubenberg's willingness to debate her own bill — filed and debated their own amendments for hours, knowing that procedurally they could delay the final vote in the Senate long enough to give Wendy Davis a fighting chance. In particular, thank you to Lon Burnam, Dawnna Dukes, Jessica Farrar, Mary Gonzalez, Donna Howard, Ruth McClendon, Jose Menendez, Eddie Rodriguez, Chris Turner, Sylvester Turner, and Armando Walle for your efforts to make clear that this bill was never about protecting women or ensuring their safety.
Thank you to Senfronia Thompson for putting a goddamned coathanger on the microphone. There could be no doubt after that about the consequences of this bill.
Thanks in particular to the staffers who aided in preparing those amendments and talking points, and got your bosses down on the floor ready to go all night.
Thank you to the social media all-stars in Austin and elsewhere who amplified everything that was going on on the ground, served as a crucial source of on the ground reporting, and helped organize hundreds of pizzas to feed an unruly mob of supporters.
Thank you to everyone on Twitter who sent a pizza. Really, those pizzas helped. You sent us a hug with melted cheese on it.
But most of all, thank you to the endless line of orange shirt wearing supporters who filed in and out of the House and Senate gallery, physically showing up along with the Democrats down on the floor and providing the silent, spirit-fingered support that our team needed to keep going.
Thank you to everyone who submitted your story to Wendy Davis to be read on the floor, allowing her to give voice to those Texans whose testimony was shut out from previous hearings.
Thank you to parents who brought your children to witness history, to first-time and long-time activists who stood and chanted together. To everyone who screamed in the rotunda when the doors of the Senate Gallery opened so that our Democrats on the floor could hear and feel your support. Thank you to everyone in the gallery who held seats for orange shirts all day — and to those who were there to stand up and roar while the clock finally wound down.
There are a lot of people to thank, because there were a lot of people who helped make that history happen.
So whether you were there in the Capitol or tweeting along at home, whether this was your first time getting involved in a political cause or another day at the office, thank you for what you did — you helped make history and change the fate of Texas.
One year later, some folks seem to forget what those days and hours felt like to those of us who lived through them, in them, rather than chronicling them from the outside.
Some people (i.e. lazy pundits, overpaid internet journalists, and folks who've never set foot in this state) say Texans won't show up this year at the polls — but we showed up last summer, for weeks on end. They say women don't care. They say the enthusiasm is gone.
Look at the numbers of volunteers with Battleground Texas and the numbers of phone calls they're making to voters. Look at the fundraising money flowing in to Wendy Davis's campaign. Look at the sold-out dinners held by Democratic parties across the state. Look at the renewed interest in building and supporting the efforts that will change the outcome of our elections and help put responsible leaders that care about all Texans in office.
So today, while we look back at everything that happened a year ago and what led up to it and came out of it, know that we're also looking forward to all the work that must be done, will be done, to keep this movement going and to create the Texas leadership that our state deserves.