While there's much discussion about the lack of female superhero movies in Hollywood, a real life one emerged yesterday. Texas State Senator Wendy Davis was set to go through a 13 hour long filibuster of SB5--a bill that would have implemented some of the harshest abortion and women's health restrictions as well as cutting a number of women's health clinics in Texas.
Davis was prepared to stand without leaning not to mention being unable to eat, drink or use a bathroom until midnight when the legislative session expired. Hundreds of people had come to support Davis with their testimonies and general support. All day, social media was in full support of Davis using the hashtag #StandWithWendy. And hundreds of thousands of people watched Davis via livestream.
As midnight approached, when Davis spoke about mandatory ultrasounds, she was sidelined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst because it was deemed off-topic. Democrats were able to stall the vote until 11:45pm when the crowd took over cheering and shouting so loudly that any proceedings were interrupted. A vote was taken and then there was debate as to whether or not the vote was valid. Republicans claimed that the vote, taken at 12:02am on June 26th, was recorded as June 25th. The incorrectly recorded vote was nullified and Davis'incredible filibuster worked.
Lindsay Eyth, a graphic designer and Austin resident, has been involved in bringing down SB5--giving her testimony during a citizen's filibuster, brought food and coffee to supporters and was present at the capital for days. She was part of the crowd last night which Eyth said by 11pm was out the door of the capital building. The scene was incredibly tense and when word via social media that the filibuster was over--however word then spread through the crowd that it wasn't over and they began shouting "Wendy!" and "Let her speak!" As the crowd waited to find out whether or not a vote happened, Eyth described the experience as emotional but it "felt like we were doing something practical and necessary."
Davis' filibuster of SB5 marks a truly historic moment for women.
It shows the strength and courage of Davis, Senator Leticia Van De Putte and hundreds of supporters who stood up to unfair legislation that police women's bodies. Eyth said she felt as "if we were literally fighting to save our own lives." And these awesome women and men in Texas did just that and won.
It also shows what we can accomplish if we are organized and pissed off enough. Watching Davis stand there tall and unwilling to back down for hours and hours was a truly inspiring sight. One that, alongside today's overturning of both DOMA (led by another awesome lady, Edith Windsor) and Prop 8, fuels the fight that will continue. We will neer give up the fight for equal rights for all, even when that fight gets exhausting. In her fight against SB5, Eyth felt something change.
I'm not sure I've ever stood up to injustice and demanded to be heard -- and actually seen a positive outcome. I'm sure I'm not alone in being accustomed to getting ignored, to chalking up my efforts to symbolic action. I think it changed a lot of us there. I know it changed a lot for me.
And that change is what we need to hold onto to continue to fight. We must continue to stand with Wendy, Edith and all other activists that come after them.
The positive reaction to Davis and the filibuster through social media proves another thing--people want to see strong women kicking ass and taking names. Our pitch for the next great superhero movie? A biopic about the truly great Wendy Davis.
Wendy Davis beats the clock, with an assist from the gallery (The Washington Post)