Raise your voice

Former Texas state Senator Wendy Davis calls on young people to “show up” in politics

Former Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Wendy Davis became a champion for women’s rights in 2013 when she stood proudly on the floor of the Texas Senate in pink running shoes, staging an 11-hour filibuster in defense against a package of abortion restrictions that would cripple women’s access to healthcare in the state. Though it eventually became law, Davis’ filibuster inspired many, especially young women who supported her wildly, with her tenacity in the face of conservative opponents. She lost her reelection last year, but hasn’t lost her spirit. In an interview with the Texas Observer, the former senator said that she experienced “a grieving of sorts” after her loss. “But the grief wasn’t about losing that race. The grief has been about not being in public service anymore,” she said. She’s now working to “transfer that into the next constructive way that I’ll use my energy and my passion and my voice.”

One of those passions is connecting with young people, who she encourages to shed their distrust in the system and “show up” in politics. “Politics is nothing but the people who are elected to serve,” Davis said. “And when we get disillusioned about how broken it is, we have to step back and remind ourselves that it is broken when the people who are there allow it to be so. If we truly want to see change, it means we need to change the people.” She stressed that by 2020, millennials will make up 40 percent of the voting population. “Think about that power and what could happen if the people who reflected the values of millennials were elected.”

Since leaving the senate and her failed campaign, Davis has continued to support women in the fight for reproductive health. “I’ve spoken to a number of Planned Parenthood organizations around the country to do some fundraising for them …That’s been a healthy way for me to feel like I am still out there, not only talking about the things that matter but urging other people to get involved and understand how they can help bring about change,” she said.

Read the full interview at The Texas Observer.

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