In April of 2004, my Mom and I traveled to DC to take part in the March for Women’s Lives. Many of us had waited for this day for months. We had volunteered, planned, and raised money. We were ready to show the world that we were marching for social justice for all women, AIDS funding, family planning, and reproductive freedom.
That Sunday morning the Texas Delegation packed into some room in some building with Regan’s name on it. We mingled, we took pictures, and we erupted into a standing ovation when Ann Richards entered the room – clad in white and surrounded by her daughters and granddaughters. Molly Ivins spoke, Sarah Weddington followed, and then Richards ignited the crowd and challenged us to take the fight home before she led us to the National Mall under a giant Texas flag.
The good news is that they cannot silence American women.
We are here today to say, once again, that no judge, no bureaucrat, no government official has the right to tell us whether or when we will have children.
We are not fighting for mere convenience or selfish ambition.
We are fighting for our sons and daughters who deserve medically sound advice about their sexual health.
We are fighting for the confidentiality of the doctor patient relationship.
We are fighting for the confidentiality of hospital and clinic records.
And we are fighting for the right of every child to be a loved and wanted child.
This is a crucial year.
And the march today is a beginning.
We must register our sisters…and we must vote.
Because when women vote, we win.
Tomorrow, we will go home and get to work.
Because we are fighting for our lives.
And we will not be stopped.
Liz Smith, in her remembrances of Richards, described her best friend as a warrior on a lifelong mission for equality and justice. And fittingly, she closed by saying, “Ann Richards was the most alive person I have ever known in my life. Let’s keep her that way.”
Here’s hoping the warrior lives in all of us.