Some have “gone forth” through their careers. I’ve posted about Cousin Mary Elizabeth before, too, but I admire her so much I can’t help but repeat a bit of her story. Mary Elizabeth worked as railroad station agent beginning in 1948 at age 16, at first learning the telegraph key to cover for her father, who was frequently drunk during his duty hours. She went on to a long career in railroading during a time when women in that business were almost unheard of.
Although we tease her for talking shop at the dinner table, everyone who knows or is related to Betsy Newton Herman, my mother-in-law, is proud of her work with new moms. She’s a NICU lactation nurse at a hospital and her shop talk is breastfeeding. She has for years upheld a personal Nestle boycott in response to Nestle’s aggressive marketing of baby formula in developing countries. Betsy is also a peacemaker, granola-baker, and glass-ceiling breaker. She was the first woman usher ever to, um, ush, at the Oxford (NC) Baptist Church. This year.
Under the heading of Thoughtful, Creative, and Just Plain Awesome Women of Action, I have one final story to share. Earlier this week, my cousin Arianna Reaves co-organized a group of Dallas-area women to demonstrate for women’s reproductive health rights in the Texas state senate. Dressed as suffragettes.
We were there not because we hated religion, not because we even wanted to discuss abortion, but because of the issues of enfranchisement and jurisdiction. We held that you cannot fully participate in a democracy in which you do not fully control your body, and that no state or other governmental entity has the power to overrule a woman’s sovereignty in her own body.
The doors to the gallery were opened at nearly time for the session to begin. We filed in, like silent ghosts from sessions past. We crossed the gallery until we found a block of seats that faced the Senators. We waited and listened. Soon they were finished and the session was adjourned. It was less than 45 minutes from beginning to end…I hope that we made our stand [on SB9 and HB2] for the right reasons.
Regardless of whether our public stands on any given issue are the right ones or undertaken for the right reasons, I hope we can all agree that we’re grateful for the freedom to go forth in love and action. And I’m proud of my family members who’ve done so.