We are a group of 38 women who were woke by the 2016 election.

There were a million directions we could go with that and, individually, many of us do. But for this group, we have one mission: “Organizing locally to protect affordable women’s healthcare in Texas and our nation.”

cropped-screen-shot-2018-03-18-at-1-03-20-pm3.pngOur founder, Trish Major, is not new to community organizing. Immediately following the first Women’s March, Planned Parenthood put out a call, asking people to organize locally to help protect affordable women’s healthcare from Trump’s expected policies. Having seen such care deteriorate over the years in Texas, Trish responded that she would do just that.

She emailed seven like-minded women.

“Although I anticipate our numbers growing, I wanted to start out with a small group of women that I know can listen actively and act communally in order to determine how we should proceed and where our passions and energies lie. As you know, this fight must take place at the national and local levels. Among the eight of us, we reside in three congressional districts, three state senatorial districts, and three state house districts. Republican senators have already complained to the White House that they weren’t given enough back-up for the onslaught of constituent complaints about Trump’s tragic cabinet appointments. So constant constituent pressure will be key, and we can do that better as a group than as individuals.”

She put out a few dates for the first meeting, ending with this: “One thing that I have learned from experience is that the more you work for justice, the more hopeful you become.”

And thus the EDPW and hope were born.

Everyone came and two people brought friends. At the first meeting, many of the women said they were grateful we were getting together because they knew they wanted to do something but didn’t know how.

The first thing we wanted to do was make sure our elected officials knew who we were and what we wanted. That meant studying up on the Planned Parenthood organization and the state of women’s healthcare in Texas and the nation. And visiting our representatives. In the first six months, we visited U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s office, had a personal meeting with U.S. Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson, gathered for letter writing parties, kept track of the legislation being voted on in Austin, and went to Austin for Planned Parenthood lobby days in April and in July, visiting our state reps there.

The visits to Austin cemented for us that it would be a better strategy to change representation than to try to change the minds of those currently holding office. So we decided to get involved with the 2018 elections. We also appreciated the value of good hard data when making a case for change, which is how we came up with the “Healthy Skepticism” project.

And we’re just getting started.