A hearing last week in Austin was an emotional one for many.
The Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony on the controversial “bathroom bill” on Tuesday. SB 6, filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, is part of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s crusade against restroom choice and gender identity.
If it’s passed, people at public schools, governmental buildings and public universities would have to use the restroom for their “biological sex,” or what is stated on their birth certificate. It would also dismantle some local anti-discrimination laws.
Many advocacy groups, transgender individuals, lawmakers, parents and organizations want the bill to die. So much so, the public testimony at last week’s hearing continued for 13 hours.
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About 300 Texans testified, emotionally and passionately, most in opposition, stretching into the night. The vote didn’t happen until around 5 a.m., almost 24 hours after the committee meeting began.
The committee advanced the bill to the full chamber on an 8-1 vote.
It’s no wonder many people feel their voices don’t matter. But remember, the bill isn’t a law yet. SB 6 still must pass the full chamber before going to the House — where those 13 hours of testimony might have more weight and where Speaker Joe Straus is not a fan of the bill.
Peaceful political activism always counts, no matter how small or how many deaf ears it falls on.
Don’t let the emotion fizzle out in frustration. Fight peacefully for your rights and don’t let the opposition discourage you.
But one thing has more power to move the needle toward change than any other activism: vote.
You want change? Vote. Didn’t like what happened at that committee? Vote for new senators next election.
And don’t just focus on the big elections like the state legislature, Congress or president. Vote in school board, city council and mayoral elections.
It might not seem like a big deal to not participate in local elections, but little changes in the political spectrum can do some big things in the community.
So use that passion, continue giving testimonies and vote any chance you get to create a better future.