Wendy Davis — one of Texas’ and the nation’s most inspiring public figures — will give the closing speech at this year’s Annual Conference sponsored by Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse (LASA). “The LASA conference is extremely important to our statewide efforts to deal with the chronic problems of sexual assault and domestic abuse,” Davis said. “It’s vital that survivor advocates collaborate, exchange experiences and strategies — and that’s what this conference is all about.”
(The 19th Annual Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse Cross-Training will take place June 5-7 at the Omni Colonnade Hotel in San Antonio. More information and an agenda are available at Annual Conference.)
Maricarmen Garza, coordinator for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (TRLA) Victims’ Rights Group, said, “We’re absolutely thrilled that Wendy has agreed to give one of our key addresses. “She is clearly an inspiration for her dedication and commitment to women.”
Davis, a former state senator and gubernatorial candidate, emerged a hero to millions after her 2013 Texas Senate filibuster to protect women’s reproductive rights. Backed by hundreds of supporters packed into the Senate gallery, Davis spoke for 13 hours against Senate Bill 5, which would have severely restricted access to abortion throughout Texas. Although blocked by the filibuster, the bill was passed in a subsequent special session and signed into law later in 2013. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the law as unconstitutional in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
More recently, Davis founded Deeds Not Words, which works to involve young women in politics. During a recent interview with the Rabble podcast, Davis said she started the organization three years ago “with the hope that I could play a role, using my experience and my platform with young women, to increase awareness, to increase engagement, to make change. We are so thrilled with, honored by, and in awe of the work of these young women…. They’re making a huge impact.”
Deeds Not Words has expanded to include 19 chapters at high schools and colleges statewide. Young women mobilized through the organization advocate on issues at the local and state levels.
Davis said, “The most gratifying thing for me in this [legislative] session is the fact that we have started receiving numerous calls from legislators, asking, ‘Can your advocates be there? I have a hearing on such and such bill, and I would really appreciate it if you can have some or your young women there to talk about why this matters.’ I believe so much in the value of that — that when we humanize the issue, we can move the needle.”
Davis also has been working closely with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA). “Since forming her nonprofit with young women leaders on the front lines, Senator Davis has proven to be an invaluable ally to TAASA and to the anti-sexual violence community,” said TAASA CEO Rose Luna. “Guided by her passion and expertise, they work tirelessly alongside advocates to improve public policy for survivors.”
“TAASA has been an invaluable partner in the quest to prevent and appropriately respond to sexual assault,” said Davis. “Their efforts have helped create sensible legislation and finally bring closure for the many survivors of sexual assault across this state.”