Tag Archive: #feministarmy


 

 

IMG_8868Had the pleasure of seeing and rousing rabble with a lovely group of ladies who I spent a significant portion of my summer with today. The day was lovely, the reunion was raucus and celebratory. And I just so enjoyed seeing a crowd of people united for a cause again.

However, I feel I need to address something that made me feel uneasy, and will likely continue to make me uneasy about political organizing/gathering around causes that regard personal and collective autonomy which needs to be defended within the legislative process. Too often, these causes are co-opted by political parties and candidates that attempt to direct the participants to “stand for” “vote for” and “support” them. And it’s frustrating. First, because no one political party has a monopoly on any particular issue – so, turning a rally for an issue that a good number of individual people feel passionate about into a means of promoting your party or candidate by holding banners for said candidate or party makes it seem as though we are marching for that party or candidate, rather for the rights that we as individuals are entitled to. Second, because political parties and candidates are supposed to stand for and support US. IMG_8890

I’m pretty sure my beautiful, strong sisters who chained themselves to the railings of the chamber – and others who put their bodies on the line in one way or another – during the HB2 special sessions last summer were not doing it to stand with a political candidate, or to encourage people to vote for a particular political party at all. I’m pretty sure many of them, if not most, did it to express outrage at a system that oppresses, endangers, and stigmatizes people without apology and without regard for the fact that we are standing right there in the same room WATCHING them do it. In my opinion, acts of civil disobedience are the furthest thing from politics that can be imagined. They are acts of passion and sincere love and emotion – and as might be expected with anti-political actions, they are frequently discouraged and downplayed by political candidates and parties. I remember being scoffed at and told that it would be silly of me to expect a political candidate to outwardly express sympathy for our injured brother Josh, who was taken to the hospital after being brutalized by DPS officers moments before said political candidate emerged from the building, surrounded by her own DPS bodyguards. How dare I assume that a political candidate whose banner I would be forced to march under at every gathering until election day would risk the political suicide that would no doubt arise from her showing concern for someone who was fighting for the same cause that we are all supposed to stand with her and fight for?

IMG_8826And while it’s all very well and good and understood that politicians have a role to play in this spectacle, the reality in my eyes is we as individuals must collectively rise up and make it clear that we are continuing to watch them and we will not sit down and shut up and allow anyone to legislate away our rights. We must make it very clear that it is absolutely unacceptable AND WE WILL NOT SILENTLY AND POLITELY ALLOW ANYONE TO FURTHER OPPRESS OUR SISTERS WHO ARE ALREADY MARGINALIZED. I hope everyone remembers this as they shame us with admonitions to vote out of one side of their mouths, while they condemn, discourage, and even shame those who take direct action out of the other. We need to remember this movement…really ALL movements, are about people. And even though I believe the personal is political, I think it’s wise to ensure the people, rather than political candidates, hold the power.

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Good afternoon. My name is Lainie Duro, I am a single mother of two boys and an unruly activist for choice. I am against this bill.

I wanted to take some time today to represent a group of people who I haven’t seen represented in these hearings in numbers proportionate to how this bill will affect them. Over 60% of abortions are performed on women who already have children. Many of them, no doubt, are single parents like me. Some may be women in abusive relationships who do not wish to further complicate the lives they are already responsible for.

I am here to stand for these women because I am fortunate. My children are older, I’m able to take time off from work to be here, I have the financial means to stay here all day to ensure my voice is heard…and I don’t THINK I currently have to fear for my or my children’s safety if my ex-spouse finds out I am here.

The same things that cause people to be excluded from the legislative process also cause them to be inordinately burdened by a pregnancy, as well as by rules that limit access to abortion clinics. As it is, 85% of Texas women live in a county that doesn’t have an abortion clinic. Being a mom makes it extremely difficult to travel long distances or schedule several appointments in order to act on a difficult decision. Voting for this bill puts these women at greater risk of either choosing an unsafe abortion or being forced to delay an abortion. Which, by the way, WE ALL KNOW is not preferred.

Rather than spending a couple million dollars attempting to further limit a woman’s right to choose, why not SUPPORT the 70% or so of women who say they chose abortion for financial reasons? I am FOR legislation that ensures NO woman has to feel compelled to terminate a pregnancy based on strictly economic reasons. Legislation such as equal pay for equal work, so women-led families don’t have to be the poorest families in our state. Medicaid expansion – so our working poor families don’t have to worry about going bankrupt when a child they already have gets sick. Family-friendly work policies that allow for parents who have kids to stay home if they are sick – or if they need to kick the asses of their elected officials. Don’t tell me you stand for women until you are doing everything you can to ensure women and their families have ENOUGH resources to live healthy, dignified lives. Until we win THAT fight, we at least need to ensure that ALL women have the right to make the choices necessary to ensure the happiest, healthiest, most dignified lives possible for themselves and the children they already have. To me THAT is the definition of Pro-Life. I am very definitely Pro-Life.

I’m also an optimist. I know we’ve already won, and I think you know it too. We won when the whole world watched you change the timestamp on a vote. We won when the whole world witnessed you silence a female senator several times before finally committing that fraud. We won, because women of Texas and across this country are rising up to take back their power. We are mighty. We do not forgive, and we do not forget.

So what you might have missed today was that Rick Perry reserved all of the rooms in the Capitol extension, so we were unable to have food delivered to us, and we couldn’t view the streams like we were able to do previously. Police were staged in the auditorium. This reservation extends, conveniently enough, for the next 30 days.

They brought mounted police in all the way from Houston to give more of an appearance that the peaceful protesters were an Unruly Mob of Rioters.

The State Preservation Board (which is essentially Perry and his cronies) made up rules about where we were able to stand and/or sit that DPS troopers attempted to enforce several times before they finally made us move. I don’t even think DPS could deal with the cognitive dissonance of telling someone they were safer sitting in the middle of a room than they were with their backs against the wall, so we did manage to stall them until they decided to call upon the power of “we have guns and handcuffs and we say so. So you must do so.”

A whole lot of women made a WHOLE LOT of noise. People who came to our assembly at 7 PM tonight told us they could hear us from outside, and those in the gallery could hear us from there. It was a beautiful, wonderful, glorious din.

I observed that pro-life people seem to be in a constant state of funeral dirge, and I wondered if their children (some of whom were praying on their knees on that hard marble floor, and I felt really bad for them) felt wistful about the celebratory atmosphere surrounding those of us who were singing and chanting and fighting for our rights

The people’s filibuster, which was an amazing idea, got drowned out by the energetic noise in the rotunda. Some amazing stories were shared by Quinn. Other stories were submitted by email and via livestream. I really would like to continue to do this action for the duration of the session, if we can get more women to tell their stories on camera. They inspired me.

I  got to hold an adorable baby.

We had an incredible march with over 1500 people.

The dems backstabbed the radicals and activists by continuing to make threats and attempting to block them from participating in the rallies outside.

 

I am one wore-out motherfucker. Tomorrow is a work day, but there is a hearing that starts at 3:30, and I’m probably going to head over after work.

I discovered I’m not a huge fan of livestreaming because I can’t keep up with twitter or facebook while livestreaming, and I prefer to just take pictures, but I have concerns that our main livestreamers are dudes…as is our main Twitterer. How can they step back if no one is stepping up? Still working through that one…

Regardless, There’s really nothing like being packed into a crowded room with a few hundred people you know and love dearly. There’s some amazing video on my ustream account: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lainieduro

Mostly, it was a long, loud, beautiful, exhausting day. Tomorrow, it’s requested that people get to The Capitol early in the morning (7 AM if possible) so they can be ready to sign up to speak at the hearing. I hope a lot of people show up.

 

OH, and…the people united will never be defeated.