Deeds Not Words: Taking Action to Make Change

On Friday, January 25, 2019, Wendy Davis spoke with students in an afternoon session “Deeds Not Words: Taking Action to Make Change.” Wendy Davis is the founding director of Deeds Not Words, a non-profit that seeks to empower and activate the voices of young women in public and political discourse. She is a former Texas State Senator, 2014 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial nominee, frequent public speaker and author. Davis gained national prominence in 2013 when she strapped on a pair of pink sneakers and held a 13-hour filibuster to protect women’s reproductive freedoms in Texas. Her fight ultimately led to a successful and landmark decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, strengthening the landscape for abortion rights throughout the country.

In this session, Davis spoke about her famous 2013 filibuster, focusing on the potential for young people to make a difference in politics. When her filibuster was defeated with only a short amount of time left in the session, Davis said that the protests of those watching in the gallery made it impossible to take a vote. The actions of those assembled helped aid her filibuster, and prevent the passing of the bill during that session. Davis said she was hopeful for the future of politics and activism, due to the increasing amount of people in younger generations who care about changing the status quo and having their voices heard. She encouraged students to remain engaged and get involved in issues they support.

Early in the day, Wendy Davis participated in two class visits, Women and Poverty with Professor Susan Overton and Women in Journalism with Professor Alexis Jetter. She also participated in a panel discussion following the screening of “Reversing Roe” later on January 25. The other panelists were the film producers/writers/directors Ricki Stern ’87 and Annie Sundberg ’91 and Dr. Colleen McNicholas.

Davis’ visit was co-sponsored by Hopkins Center Film, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

Written by Olivia Bewley ’19, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for Public Programs