Last weekend, I rode with NARAL Nevada volunteers to Carson City. I witnessed them making their mark in the Nevada Legislature. What were they doing? And why did they decide to be up here?
I woke up early Sunday morning to gather my items and drive to UNLV. I met the NARAL crew there. They were fierce progressive activists who were fired up and ready to go fight for equality.
“I’m really excited to go to the Nevada Legislature. […] There’s strength in numbers.” – Leslie Vega
During our communal caravan experience, activists enjoyed coloring books, “Electra’s Feminist Playlist,”and a thorough #NVLeg briefing.
NARAL Nevada Director Electra Skrzydlewski made sure everyone knew who their legislators were. She went through the agenda to expand access to reproductive health care and women’s equality at all levels. She also gave everyone a crash course on how to get influencers’ attention on social media.
Some on the bus already knew their legislators. Jean has run into her State Senator, Mark Manendo (D-Sunrise Manor), at the post office.
It’s great to know your legislators are often your neighbors.” – Jean Dunbar
Some on the bus were new to activism. Others were more experienced hands. All were ready to make a difference upon arrival in Carson City.
The next day, I met up with the group in Carson City. They were preparing to enter the Building to lobby for workplace equality and affordable health care. They particularly pressed legislators on expanding access to reproductive health care and making contraception more affordable and accessible.
The NARAL crew spent the day attending various hearings and meeting with legislators. They were in luck, as Monday featured marquee hearings on matters ranging from LGBTQ youth in foster care and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. For some in the group, this was their very first experience in the Legislative Building. And yet, they were all dashing around the Building like the staff and paid lobbyists who visit here like clockwork.
Nevada is a unique state in that we are a small state with a large metropolis, vast rural territory, and outsized personalities. Our state government can be surprisingly accessible. And yet, many residents often feel like it’s only attentive to the wishes of a select few. As this new wave of progressive activism builds, we continue to see more people engaging their state and local governments to make real change and NARAL is helping to lead the way.