Monday, March 6 was Transgender Advocacy Day, and the ACLU provided buses from Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston to those interested in going to the capitol to speak to their legislators. Tuesday, March 7 was Abortion Funds Advocacy Day, and the Texas Equal Access fund provided transportation from Dallas. This meant I was blessed with the opportunity to ride to Austin, receive info, training, support, and lunch from the ACLU and to meet up with TEA Fund Tuesday to do the same and catch a ride home.
The final cherry on top was a ride to my car Tuesday evening from another advocate who said it was on her way home instead of my having to call for a Lyft.
Monday evening, Danielle Pellet brought me along to a cookout for some of the advocates that day, and I got to meet so many amazing people, including New Hope Mayor Jess Herbst. Dani also gave me a ride to my friend’s place to crash that night.
I went to boot camp before dawn with my host, and she was kind enough to offer me a ride to the capitol so I could save the cab fee. With her work schedule, though, that put me 2 hours early for meeting up with the abortion party.
This gave me some time to roam the capitol and catch Pokémon. I had the pleasure of running across Johnny Boucher in the halls to chat a bit and offer a hug and encouragement. His family drove down from Dallas that morning to testify against SB6, Texas’s own “bathroom bill.” They signed up and waited over 18 hours before leaving near midnight. A friend said their names were finally called at 2 or 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Tuesday was also Space Day Texas, celebrating space exploration. I asked one person at a booth what the event was about and whether I could have one of those spiffy astronaut-shaped stress squeezy things on the table. When he said “Yes, of course,” I told him that silly thing really made my day. He alluded to the stress of the day to come (what with over 400 people spilling into the halls as they waited to testify on SB6).
I remarked that I teared up when I saw so many people here for that, and he responded, “And that is exactly how it should be.” I knew he couldn’t say anything explicit about the issue since he was on the clock representing his company, but we shared smiles and well wishes for the day. Then I nearly cried again at the beauty of such a serendipitous encounter with a stranger.