Tag Archives: Cecile Richards

Hero of the Week Award: June 28, Wendy Davis

28 Jun
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Some weeks the choice for Hero is abundantly clear. Thanks to regular SJFA follower Voice of the Trailer for nominating the amazing Wendy Davis.

Davis is a Democrat state senator in Texas, a thankless job if ever there was one. When Gov. Rick Perry called a special legislative session specifically to curtail abortion rights, she refused to let his scheme work. The short session was intended to pass a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, create more burdensome requirements for all abortions, and crush Planned Parenthood in the state. Davis, working with a strong coalition that included Planned Parenthood’s wonderful Cecile Richards, mounted a firm plan of resistance.

Demonstrating what a filibuster ought to be, Davis launched a thirteen-hour speech on the Senate floor, refusing to allow the bill to move forward. Her marathon speech required the use of a back brace before she was done, but she stuck it out. Republicans tried a number of administrative tricks to block her, but she carried on almost to the end. When they finally cut her off with moments to go, dozens of pro-choice supporters in the gallery raised their voices in protest, shouting down any action until the clock ran out on the special session.

Gov. Perry has sworn to try again, but the voices raised against him are strong. Having a true leader like Wendy Davis brought new life to the cause. There’s now a movement to draft her to run against Perry — that would be lovely justice indeed.

Honorable mention goes to the four justices on the Supreme Court who did their best to truly represent the people in their work this week. In the devastating ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act, Justice Ginsburg delivered a scathing dissent, joined by Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. All four also voted to overturn DOMA and to preserve Affirmative Action and worked to ensure that Prop 8 was nullified in California. When the highest court in the land is ruled by an opportunist ideologue, their courage and voices for justice are needed more than ever.

Celebrating Ann Richards

1 Sep

Happy Birthday, Ann Richards

Happy Birthday, Ann Richards. Richards was  the second woman governor of Texas. She served from 1991 to 1995, to be defeated by George W. Bush– a defeat that would change the course of history not only for Texas, but for the United States.

For those of us who were or are history teachers, it should come as no surprise that Richards started her career as a social studies/history teacher. Nor should it come as a surprise that she was a vocal proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); even as I write this, I’m painfully aware that there is an entire generation that probably has never heard of the ERA, which sadly failed. Richards was was at the National Women’s Conference along with Bella Abzug, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, and Rosalynn Carter.

One of my favorite quotes from Richards referencing George H.W. Bush:

Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth…two women in 160 years is about par for the course. But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels… When we pay billions for planes that won’t fly, billions for tanks that won’t fire, and billions for systems that won’t work, that old dog won’t hunt. And you don’t have to be from Waco to know that when the Pentagon makes crooks rich and doesn’t make America strong, that it’s a bum deal.

If this quote does not make you love her, I don’t know what will. One of my absolutely favorite anecdotes about Richards is her time at Scholz Garten in Austin.  Richards puts a racist Texas judge in check.  I am lifting the quote straight from one of my favorite journalists, the late Molly Ivins:

A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, ‘Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

How proud she must be that her daughter Cecile shares her dedication to social justice and civil rights. Ann Richards you are missed but not forgotten.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: March 19

19 Mar

My Lunch with Cecile

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Cecile Richards. I must confess that before I fell in love with Cecile Richards, I was in love with her mother, Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas.  I remember weeping in the car listening to Morning Edition on NPR as I learned of Governor Richards passing. Obviously, we know now that NPR’s Morning Edition is nothing less than a terrorist plot to educate Americans!

I had the great honor of meeting and talking with Cecile Richards at a Planned Parenthood luncheon a year ago. We did talk about her late mother, Texas, and issues around social justice. Cecile thanked me for supporting Planned Parenthood and we talked about the problem of overarching misogyny and patriarchy. She thanked me for seeing the connection between homophobia and misogyny. I remember thinking how gracious she was and how kind. Her dedication to women’s health is tireless. I can only think about how proud her mom must have been of our Cecile. I also have to thank her for allowing me to be a little star struck and for taking a picture with me.

I am just simply amazed at how compassionate and loving she is able to be while being attacked by John (must have been hatched) Boehner and the House of Representatives. I can work myself up into a lather regarding the systematic attack on women and have to take inspiration from Cecile to remain calm, yet passionate and dedicated. I don’t think Planned Parenthood could have a better President. Here is my little soap box moment: Yes, I am strongly pro-choice and believe that a woman should be allowed to govern her own body, but LEST WE FORGET, Planned Parenthood is also about WOMEN’S HEALTH! Planned Parenthood offers counseling, pap smears, STD/HIV testing to myriad women that can’t afford any other resource. Can anyone imagine how this national conversation would go if someone were to try and control Boehner’s health: “You will not be allowed a prostate exam.”  Yeah, that would go over real well.  This soap box moment was brought to you by an outraged citizen and if you are not outraged by this attack on women, you are not paying attention. On behalf of Americans for social justice, I thank you, Cecile.

%d bloggers like this: