We recieved this in our mail bag from teacher Maureen Reedy
I know the past few days have been very tough days for all of us, but take heart... and if you were at the Statehouse Wednesday night, up in the balcony of the House of Representatives chamber and on the floor of the Senate, hearing the impassioned testimony of the Democrats and a few Republican legislators then you know what I am feeling right now.... there is hope for what we believe in, what we teach to our students and children, our future as educators and the preservation of the very creed of our democratic society.
If you were not there, I thought I would share some quotes from my notes as Democratic Representatives and Senators and Republican Senators Grendell and Seitz spoke on the floor of the House and Senate just before the votes were taken...
"Senate Bill 5 is anti-liberty, anti-life, anti-justice, anti-truth, anti-pursuit of liberty and happiness..."
"We are all in the same boat and one-half of a boat don't float..."
"The arc of Truth bends towards Justice...."
"What side of history do we want to be on? The RIGHT side of history!"
"Historically progress is marked by moving FORWARDS not backwards, SB 5 is pushing our society BACKWARDS... it turns the clock back 100 years..."
"My father taught me that being a politician was not about voting on issues just to win an election but for standing up and voting for what you believe in your heart."
"Senate Bill 5 is dishonest, it insults, demeans and denigrates the very people who save the lives of Ohioans and educate our children for their future..."
"When Senate Bill 5 passes and there is no collective bargaining for Paramedics, how are YOU going to feel when it takes the EMT 10 extra minutes to reach YOUR mother's house? What if she does not survive?"
"Senate Bill 5 is unfair... it will generate unfunded mandates locally and statewide and encourage nepotism in the workplace...."
"Never let Truth get in the way of a good story..."
"Senate Bill 5 is just a smokescreen for eliminating the middle class... SB 5 is not fair, not just and not equitable... "
"Absent binding arbitration, Collective Bargaining is useless..."
"Collective Bargaining is Democracy in the workplace..."
The testimony and voting went on until 9:30 pm, we heard the most impassioned, moving and affirming speeches, the air was electric. This truly is becoming the civil rights movement of our time for all of us AND for the children of tomorrow. When we were in the House chambers, it was like a scene out of To Kill a Mockingbird, all of the people sitting in the balcony, hanging onto every syllable of every word of testimony...
Then the vote was taken and everyone was standing up, looking down over the balcony to the legislators below.... Here were their voices : "What about the people?" " You voted against humanity!" "What about the children?" "We risk our lives for YOU!" "We CHANGE lives!" "You let Ohio down!" "Shame on you!"
Then we all walked down the stairs singing "Power to the People" and gathered in the Rotunda to listen to each democratic Representative of the House address the crowd with a promise to get the Referendum up and moving so that the voice of the people would prevail, hundreds of people cheering and waving together.
We then went into the Senate chambers for the next 3 hours, lots of singing, chanting, clapping , standing , stomping, the democratic legislators were there singing and talking with us, at 8 pm began another hour of impassioned testimony and loud cheering...
Then the final vote of the Senate on the amended House version of the bill...
The reaction of the crowd to the final vote was just incredible, we felt the truth rising and filling the chambers, in spite of the outcome of the vote, we did not feel it weighing us down, rather liberating us to move forward towards the referendum movement, towards the voice of the people resonating with justice...
As the onlookers shouted, the supporters of SB 5 were escorted out of the chambers by state troopers , it was as if they were moving through a tunnel of shame, their heads were actually hanging down... just amazing to watch.
We all left quietly with the voices of the people filling us with purpose, passion and conviction for the days and months ahead...
Together, we will move forward toward the light... and remember the words of a wise legislator who stood up on the Senate floor and said ...
"The Arc of Truth bends towards Justice!"