Yesterday’s Kansas City Women’s March was centered at Unity Temple on the Plaza. After the 2:00 p.m. march through the Plaza and back participants gathered for a 3:00 p.m. inside rally, this due to the extreme cold.
Representative Sharice Davids (D): …Thank you all for being here today, um, and for, well, actually it’s so much, it’s so much nicer now than any of us anticipated I think, so. Um, I’m grateful for that. Ah, so happy to be here today with all of you. Uh, this will be the third, um, march, rally, uh, that I participated in, the first time I was in Washington, D.C. and I marched with the native women rights group. And then last year, without realizing it, um, I didn’t know that I was going to be running for Congress in that moment but I got to stand on stage with Laura Kelly who is now Kansas’ governor. And now this year I get to be here with all of you.
I’m so excited about the progress that we’ve seen since twenty-sixteen although I now we have a lot more work to do. Um, certainly my victory and Laura Kelly’s victory, which was all of our victories, um, meant a lot in Kansas this last year. But, we all also recognize that twenty-nineteen is gonna be a lot of work. Twenty-twenty is gonna be a lot of work. But we’re here for it. I know we are.
I can’t express, because I’m not as amazing as the poets that stood up here before me today, the honor and privilege that I feel standing in front of you as the Congressional representative for the Third District in Kansas. But I can tell you that the reason that I ran was because I had a lot of faith in the people in Kansas in the Third District and my community. And, this year, Kansas showed up. This year women showed up. LGBT folks, people of color, people of different socio-economic statuses, people with different educational backgrounds, all showed up. And it made a huge difference. And I’m here for that, too.
I knew that we were ready for something different, something that all of us know that our communities stand for. We all want public education, regardless [inaudible]. That we want public education regardless of what zip code you live in, that you should have high quality education. It doesn’t matter who your parents are, it doesn’t matter what your background is, that you are just as deserving of a quality public education as anyone else.
That’s the same for health care. We showed up this year because we know that in the most wealthy country in the world, I heard it from a couple of other speakers, no one should go broke paying for health care. No one should put their family’s ability to have their livelihoods at risk because of something that they can’t control. We all have to worry about our health care. And no one should go broke because of that.
We showed up because we know that those are our values. We know that people, regardless of your background or your socio-economic status, that you, you’re voice should be heard in thi political process.
I ran because I know, I represent a voice that, until Deb Halland and I got elected this year, had never been heard in Congress before. But that didn’t happen because of me, it happened because of all of you. It happened because the people in Kansas showed up. It happened because people on the Missouri side showed up. I know that’s true. It happened because so many of us put our blood, sweat and tears in to this last election cycle in a way that so many of us had not done before.
And a whole bunch of people had. A whole bunch of people have been doing all of this work for so long. And their voices were not being listened to. So many people have been fighting for women’s rights, for LGBT rights, for the rights of Black women, Black men, and Black trans people. And those voices were not being listened to.
But we have started a path of change. This year that’s changing. But the work’s not done. We can clap even though the work’s not done.
We’re at the beginning of a new year that’s gonna be really hard. It already is. I did not anticipate getting sworn in to a closed, partially closed federal government and going to sleep at night knowing that part of the responsibility that I hold is that the decisions I make impact a whole bunch of people that I will never see, a whole bunch of people who are doing work right now and not getting paid for it. Which should never happen, anywhere, and it shouldn’t be [inaudible]. People who are trying to keep us safe.
And I know that a lot of you, probably there are people in this room who are experiencing that right now, that a lot of you care about, not just our federal Civil Service workers and the contractors help keeping, who help keep the federal government going, but also all the people who depend on those federal programs. People who make use of HUD for housing, who make use of SNAP and WIC, so our children and our families in our communities can be fed. All of these things are so important. And it is so heavy going to and from my office and meeting with federal employees and people who are affected by these programs. But I signed up for that.
I intentionally put myself into this process because it matters that we now have more people in Congress who actually know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. [inaudible] To have people who are making decisions that this is not a thought experiment for. It’s not a thought experiment for me to be thinking about what it’s like to not have health care. Starting February 1st, when I have healthcare for the first time in over a year.
When so many people in this country know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and we have people in the Senate and in the White House who will never understand the pain and that feeling in your chest when you don’t know if you’re gonna to be able to make rent or pay your phone bill or pay for child care or gas to get to work. All of these things that affect all of us are not affecting the people who are sitting in the halls of Congress right now. Until this year, when we have seen so many new people. I’m happy to be part of that class.
So, I’m one of four hundred thirty-five in the House of Representatives right now. But it’s one voice that represents seven hundred thousand people. And each one of us in the House of Representatives has that responsibility. In the Senate there are a hundred of them. And I hope that they will think about the effects of not even voting on the bills that we’re passing because that is unacceptable.
I decided a long time ago that, even though it was not until nineteen twenty-four that Native Americans were recognized as citizens in this country, that, this is a copy of the Constitution. And in this little book is a copy of the Declaration of Independence. And that this is just as much my document a all of yours and the people who signed it. And since I decided that I’ve been keeping a copy of the Constitution with me, all, for like ten years. And, someone bought me this fancy one because I just got in to Congress.
So, the reason that I brought this with me is because I want to encourage everyone to remember that our government has power because the people allow the government to have power.
My favorite line in the Declaration of Independence has to do with the fact that our government derives its just power from the consent of the governed. And that’s all of us.
But recently, one of my more favorite pieces of it is the conclusion. At the end of the Declaration of Independence there’s a pledge. We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
During the campaign cycle I told a large group of people that I wanted Democracy as bad as I wanted to breathe. And right now I’m making this pledge to all of you. That my life and fortune and honor is tied up with yours. And I pledge that that will always be the case. And if you see actions out of me and that’s not the case, then you should vote for someone else.
Because I need you to help me keep on the right path to keep representing all of you as best I can.
Please stay active. I know you will. Encourage your friends and family to stay active. Because we are making progress. We’re for sure making progress or I wouldn’t be standing here with all of you. And I hope you’ll continue and join me, continuing to support each other. I’m gonna keep supporting as many of you a I can so that we can raise each other up. Because that’s what we’ve been doing these last couple of years. And it’s working. It’s gonna be a long haul, but it’s working. So keep doing it.