Cheryl Newcomb Director of Development Last night, I sat with hundreds of my closest friends in the gallery of the Texas Senate, watching an historic moment unfold in Texas. I snagged a seat in the gallery at about 9:00 p.m., after standing for hours in an orange-hued  line that snaked from the gallery doors, two times around the rotunda, and down the stairs. I settled in for the long haul. Senator Davis was a champion. I got my seat after Senator Davis had already received two strikes – the first for not keeping her comments “germane” to SB5, and the second for receiving assistance from Senator Ellis in donning a back brace after 9 hours of standing and talking. She was well into a lengthy analysis of SB5 and the consequences if it were to become law, when things got real. Very, very real. On the edge of our seats, we watched breathless as Lt. Governor Dewhurst sustained a third point of order against Sen. Davis for not keeping her remarks “germane.” I could explain how subjective a term “germane” is, and how broadly it has been applied in other legislative debates, but that is not the point. The point is, the eyes of Texas women were on the proceedings that night, and the eyes of hundreds of thousand s of people all over the world. With that third point of order, the endgame became clear. With that third point of order, we who had been observers became participants. The gallery erupted in chants of “Let Her Speak!” Senator Watson immediately moved to appeal the Lt. Governor’s ruling. Dewhurst passed the gavel to Chairman Duncan, who immediately lost track of who he had recognized to speak.  We settled down in the gallery while a lengthy consultation with the parliamentarian ensued. By my phone, it was 11:53 p.m. when it happened; when the people of Texas – those in the gallery, the now thousands that lined the rotunda at all levels and spilled out onto the Capitol steps, the nearly 200,000 following the live stream online, and the multitudes on Facebook and Twitter – decided that enough was enough. We stood and cheered. We cheered for Senator Davis, for her allies on the floor, for all of us watching near and far. It would be hours before we would know for sure that SB5 had failed. But it was that moment – that moment when our voices rose as one, just before the gallery was closed and we were escorted out singly or in groups – it was in that moment we claimed our victory. This is what justice sounds like. So Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, and all the others who tried to ignore the will of the people they are privileged to represent, I ask you this: Can you hear us now?
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