View from inside the Texas Senate gallery
The majority of news about the Texas Senate bill known as SB5 has covered the loud outcry from the Texas women and men inside the Texas Senate gallery on Tuesday, June 25th 2013 shortly after 10 p.m. during the special session called by Governor Perry.
It has been reported that the crowd was so loud that the proceedings could not be heard.
That is true but the loudest "Symphonic" (as described by Senator Zaffirini) noise was coming out from four floors of thousands of packed people in the Texas Capitol rotunda, stairs and hallways and concentrated less than 10 feet from the third floor of the Texas Senate Gallery entrance.
The noise was deafening with passionate chants of “Let her Speak,” "Our Bodies Our Choice," "Wendy," "Kill the Bill" and "Hell No We Won't Go" while clapping hands and stomping feet vibrated throughout the Senate Chamber.
The crowd was quiet and orderly for 11 hours until it was announced on Twitter that President Dewhurst had forced the filibuster to end by sustaining a third point of order called by Donna Campbell ("Get them out get them all out").
Immediately, several hundred people began screaming and shouting "No" storming toward the Gallery entrance. They filled all levels of the rotunda, the halls and the stairs, packed in tight while still pushing and surging forward.
It was an intense 20 minutes of screaming, hissing, booing and chanting while facing down Texas State Troopers who had been immediately dispatched and were blocking the entrance to the gallery. Many people began sitting down to passively resist any attempts to have themselves removed when people were beginning to be removed from inside the gallery.
Volunteers and Texas House Representatives Dawnna Dukes and Senfronia Thompson "Mz. T" were frantically trying to restore order by yelling up and down from the second floor of the rotunda. The crowds were finally silenced to a dull roar with the announcement that the Democratic Senators were fighting the points of order that triggered the decision to stop the filibuster and needed them to be quiet.
Visibly, the troopers and the crowd sighed in relief that no one had inadvertently been hurt. The truth is it was indeed loud but peaceful throughout the entire filibuster. Generally, they continued to remain fairly quiet until shortly before 12 a.m.
The rest...is herstory.
Texas women and men will be there again on July 1st and this time if Republicans play by the rules (i.e., not changing the date of a voting record) these women and men will continue to not be unruly. If the Republicans don't play by the rules, then they will need to bring ear plugs.
The voices of Texas women and men will be heard.
When you look at the changes that have happened this week you see a resurging women's movement and parity for gays and lesbians — it is all about equality. However, when you look at the one win by the Republicans of rescinding the Voting Rights Act - it is all about suppression, looking backward and desperately trying to tamp down the inevitable demographic changes.
Lynny Moore is a resident of San Marcos.