Wendy Davis Still Has Her Famous Pink Filibuster Sneakers Ready to Go

The congressional candidate talks footwear, feminism, and the future of Texas.

10/24/2020 9:06:00 AM

'I still have the pink sneakers. They're in my closet, high up on a shelf. I'd like to give them to my granddaughters when they get older—one shoe to Ellis and one shoe to Sawyer.' wendydavis

The congressional candidate talks footwear, feminism, and the future of Texas.

,exploring how fashion can be used as a tool for communication. Today we sat down with Davis, who is running for Texas' 21st Congressional District, to find out how her footwear became an unlikely symbol of resistance.The bill was going to close almost every clinic in Texas providing abortion care. I was in the state Senate at the time and we, the Democratic caucus, made the decision to block its passage with a filibuster. It was going to be 13 hours of no standing, no water, no going to the bathroom, no leaning on my desk. I couldn't even have a piece of hard candy in my mouth.

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I firmly believe women should have the autonomy to make those personal decisions themselves. I felt committed to the cause, and honored that my colleagues picked me to do the filibuster. But gosh, was I nervous. That morning I put on a blue dress and flats. It wasn't until I'd already left my apartment that I realized I needed something with more support. I ran back and grabbed my running shoes.

Mizunos are my go-to sneaker. I buy them at the same place, in the same size. It just so happened that on my last visit to the store, the only color left was salmon pink. I wouldn't normally go for something with that much color, but there were no other options.

Davis still has her famous pink Mizunos. She keeps them on the top shelf of her closet.Walking into the Texas Capitol was intimidating, but the energy of the thousands of supporters in the gallery and outside in the rotunda fueled me. We, along with my democratic colleagues, were all part of a team playing a vital role in getting the bill blocked. It was appropriately called the"people's filibuster" because it was such a group effort.

Time flew by much more quickly than I thought. We left around 2:00 a.m., and were met outside by the people who had waited hours to celebrate the victory. You don't forget a moment like that.Davis stood and talked for 13 hours to help block passage of an anti-abortion bill.

I learned what happens when we decide to fight together. It was a beautiful representation of what owning your power and showing up to use it looks like.A few days after the filibuster, I went jogging around Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Women stopped me to say thank you, and to ask where I got my pink sneakers. The shoes were never a purposeful choice, but they ended up becoming a symbol of what success can look like.

When the Senate’s presiding officer sustained a filibuster violation for going off topic, the crowd erupted in a chant:"Let her speak."Why? For many women I think it was seeing someone stand up to fight the good ol' boy network in a state as hostile to reproductive freedoms as Texas has been. I also think it was a David versus Goliath archetype; I, a woman, had taken on a predominantly male Senate.

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Then you have the color of the shoes, pink, which is a symbol of femininity. The sneakers came to represent the fight against regulations creating a disadvantage in our ability to realize our full potential and to own such private decisions.Davis celebrates with Texas State Sen. Jose Rodriguez after defeating the anti-abortion bill.

Clothes can play a really important role in communicating a message. Right now we are seeing that with masks. Never before has an article of clothing so defined a responsibility not just to keep ourselves safe, but also to keep everyone safe.It's disheartening that it's become a political statement, but I see it as a simple accessory for us to wear for the benefit of the community. And you can even have fun with it, right?

Read more: ELLE Magazine (US) »

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