Yesterday I took a couple hours off work and, with my almost 11 year old daughter in tow, headed down to the Capitol for the VAWA rally. (You can see the pictures at the FHO Flickr stream.) I had intended to write up my thoughts on the rally, but my daughter had so much to say about it, I figured I’d let you hear it from her. So click through to read about Julia’s impressions, almost entirely unedited (save for some comical spelling errors). I hope you enjoy it.
“Pass VAWA now! Pass VAWA now! Pass VAWA now!” If you were walking at the capitol you would have heard those shouts from the 50-75 men and women, and me.
On Tuesday, the 26th of June, I went with my mom, the amazing, almost all knowing, eyes on the back of her head, Dr. Jenifer Markowitz, to the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) rally held at the Capitol. I was amazed. People had signs saying, “WE SUPPORT THE REAL VAWA!” and “1 IS TOO MANY! STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, PASS VAWA!”
If you don’t know, we were rallying because the Senate had passed a VAWA that included protection for Native Americans on reservations; it protected the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community, and it protected immigrants and people of color. The bill protected both men and women. But, when the Senate sent it over to the House, they had different opinions. They passed a VAWA that didn’t protect the people that the other bill passed by the Senate did.
What I loved about the rally was that everyone there had the same opinion, no matter where they came from, what organization they worked for, if you were well known or not so much, we all had one opinion and one voice. The VAWA passed by the House would not work, at all! As Terry O’Neil, President of the National Organization for Women, said, “We will not accept any VAWA except the real VAWA! We will not accept the House version or anything like it!”
What I was most amazed at were the speakers that showed up at the rally. There were two Congresswomen, two Senators and even Michael Bolton, to name a few! I did have a few favorites. Two of the women there had been assaulted (knowing that recently was the first time they had talked about it, I won’t give the names.) But let me tell you this, they are my role models. They are my role models because they went through something tragic, terrifying, and often fatal. As one of those women said, “This harassment often closes many doors. It gives you very, very, limited options.” What she said is why they are my role models. What happened to them was terrible, but they powered through that. I will tell you both of those women are very successful and they are doing something that I want to do when I’m older. Those two women are helping people; they are showing me that the toughest obstacles can be conquered. And that’s why we need the REAL VAWA. So that all women can have the best chance to overcome their obstacles and be successful.