May 18, 2016

Rookie

Why Can’t I Be You: Wendy Davis

The politician talks about taking a stand for what you believe in.

In June 2013, Wendy Davis took an incredible stand. The lawyer, Democrat, and Texas state senator talked for more than 12 hours—without stopping—to block legislation that would have closed all but a handful of Texas’s abortion and women’s health clinics. Republicans in the room literally yelled at her to stop. Countless people around the country, including onesin the White House, cheered her on. For hours, I could not tear my eyes away from social media or the TV. I wanted so badly for her to win, and when she did late that night, I asked myself: How can I be more like her?

In the years since, Wendy—she says it’s OK to call her Wendy—campaigned to become governor of Texas (though she did not win), wrote a memoir, and has continuously lobbied for gender equality and reproductive rights. This spring, she launched Deeds Not Words, an online platform where young women can connect with people and groups that are organizing around the same political and social issues they care about. I talked to her in April about Deeds Not Words, her advice for activists and organizers, and how she faces fear.