Good evening. He said Kansas.
Also somebody knew where Leavenworth was – okay.
Fun fact – I’m sorry in the teleprompter they’re like ‘start the thing’ – Melissa Etheridge graduated from Leavenworth high school as well.
There’s something in the water there – but that’s a story for another day. Hi everybody, and thank you ambassador Costas for the introduction and to the Human Rights Campaign for inviting me to be here. I’d also like to thank Joni Madison – it’s so bright, I’m so sorry – in particular for your leadership as interim president, and it’s an honor to share the stage with such an amazing group of people. I also need that outfit, that, like the blazer – it was amazing earlier.
So I mean this is so amazing to be able to stand alongside a group of people who have chosen to use their talents to make a difference in so many people’s lives. And you know when I first ran for congress, my campaign started around a kitchen table – there were just a couple of us. I had noticed that there were no women running against the incumbent – someone who I really did not think was doing a very good job representing our community – and you know I asked around to see if there were any women who were willing to run. There were so many qualified women that I knew, and I thought if I’m going to be asking these questions about who’s going to address this problem I should probably consider whether or not I’m going to be part of the solution. And so I decided to run for congress.
And my campaign grew, from just a couple people around a table in 2018 to this like, amazing group and movement of people – and we unseated a four term republican incumbent. And I got to become part of the most diverse freshman class ever elected to congress. And, now I get to stand here as a second term representative; one of the first two Native American women ever elected to congress. I was elected alongside my dear friend Deb Holland, whose now – I mean she left me – she’s the secretary of interior its fine, its fine. I’m the other one.
I also, am the first out member of the LGBTQ community to be elected to congress from Kansas. And I love getting to say that Kansas got to be part of that. And, in congress I have continued to try and be part of the solution. I know that these last few years have presented no shortage of challenges. It’s been a lot. And those challenges have really, not only exacerbated, but also like further exposed the gaps in our society and… right now, what we’re seeking is that, the efforts that you all are making to ensure that we have a more just and inclusive and equal world, is more urgent than ever. This is not where I thought we were going to be right now, but I am so grateful that I get to be here and be part of this group and be fighting alongside you. Fighting to pass things like the equality act, which is a bill I truly believe will help save lives for our LGBTQ youth – and native youth, and so many other people who wonder whether or not they should be here. And the answer is absolutely.
And that everyone deserves equal protection under the law. It feels like something that is so clear, but right now, even though I represent a district in Kansas, in the United States House of Representatives, I could go home and be turned away for housing, health care, education – so many things, just because of who I am. So I feel like I should say it again: everybody deserves equal protection under the law – no matter what state you’re in. And, also, I’ve heard it so many times that – and I am absolutely here for it – that we’re fighting to protect our young people, particularly our Trans youth, against this onslaught of bills and legislation and bullying and attacks – across the country, including in Kansas. And we know that the intention is to sow division and hate and fear. And we can’t let them succeed, but more than that I know we’re not going to let them succeed – because we’re still here, we’ve been here, we’re going to keep being here.
We’re going to be here to show Trans kids, our friends, our neighborhoods, the folks in our community that they’re loved. That you all are loved. That we’re all welcomed in every single space in this country. In schools and sports – on the dance floor, I’ll see you guys later.
You know we’re doing things like fighting to improve mental health support. Especially after this time that has been so traumatic. And it’s been traumatic particular for our community. And we’re pushing and fighting and taking as many steps as we can, to regain the lost ground sin these last couple of years that we’ve seen because we know that, we’ve got to get resources to our community to make sure that people are healthy and safe. That you feel safe, but that you’re actually safe. And we’re fighting to make sure – I’ve heard this over and over tonight – is that we got to make sure that people feel seen and heard and that they are actually are seen and heard by people in places like the congress, the senate, the white house, our state legislatures, our schools, our hospitals – everywhere.
Because, I know what is like to be the only person like me in a room. And so many of those rooms are places – on Capitol Hill and the White House – but every single election that goes by, fewer and fewer of those spaces exist. Fewer and fewer of those spaces are the ones where you might be the only one like you in the room, the only one with your experience. And that’s because of the work that so many of you in this room have been doing. For so long – all your support and I was actually, I got to be here – I just got off a plane a few minutes ago – I got to be here for the part where you had to hold up your card … and so hopefully there aren’t any cards on the table anymore but because I know that the support is helping HRC’s work to empower our communities to make sure that our voices are heard at the ballot box, because that’s where we can see an antidote to this really ugly rhetoric and these attacks and the division that they’re trying to push towards us as we head toward November.
And so it’s more important than every as these republican – extreme republican – state legislature across the country literally try to divide us by gerrymandering maps. It’s happening in Kansas, where the state republican leaders have made good on a promise that they made a few years ago to sue their super majority to try and pick who goes to congress rather than the voters deciding. I always say call me old fashioned but I think the voters are supposed to decide who gets sent to congress. So I’m excited – I’m actually, I’m all fired up; we were talking earlier, a couple of people were like ‘man you’ve got good energy’ – I’m like its cause I’m fired up. Because, the reason that we’re seeing all this stuff is because we’re kicking ass.
It just is what it is. And, I know, we have a long way to go. We have a strong record of progress and we also have this like amazing community of people who are out here advocating with passion and support – and I’m really excited that you are all are trying to be part of the solution just like I am. You’re going to hear a little bit more, I’m sure, in a little bit, but I’m excited to get out there and make sure that people can see that dividing us, trying to silence us, trying to squish us – y’all picked a fight with the wrong person. Y’all picked a fight with the wrong community.
Because I was think about this, like, the beautiful thing about our community – I mean it’s not just our style. But like, look around I mean this is room full of beautiful people. And beautiful spirits. Like I’m gonna leave this even more rejuvenated – but the beautiful thing about our community is our ability to take fear and anxiety and trauma, and hardship, and support each other and turn it into something amazing. And that is what we’ve been doing, its what we’re going to keep doing … even though I know it’s been overwhelming. I’ve been overwhelmed – I can feel it in my chest sometimes but like the work we’re doing, the connections we’re making, the like card’s we’re waving around – it’s not just those things. Like we’re literally building a future that is going to be better for our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren, because we’re going to keep being here, and we’re going to keep being fabulous – and we are going to keep kicking ass.
So I’m going to stop – I’m so sorry I cussed. Alright, thank you everybody.
Davids, S. [Human Rights Campaign]. (2022, March 16). U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-KS) Speaks at 2022 HRC LA Dinner [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvQoontGLb8] Retrieved on April 1, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHZeKyjqpK9diTD1g4yDl5g.