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SXSW Panel | 2023: Democracy is Worth the Fight

While the playbook for this moment remains to be written, history provides a roadmap of how people have fought against long odds for democracy and won. This panel featured a discussion about the fight for democracy’s future in the states — and the courts — in the face of the political realities of 2023 and the legacy of the late Rep. Barbara Jordan.


Meet the Panelists

Special Guest: Olivia Julianna is a 20-year-old abortion rights activist from Houston, Texas. She is most known for initiating the takedown of a whistleblower website targeting Texans who aided in abortion access, and for raising $2.3 million for abortion funds after she was bullied online by a sitting member of Congress.

Skye Perryman
Democracy Forward
Skye Perryman is a lawyer, advocate, and leader with a track record of taking on and winning critical fights that advance democratic values, stop abuses of power, and improve the wellbeing of people and communities.

Tayhlor Coleman
Advocate and Activist
Tayhlor is a seventh-generation Texan, vanlifer, and voting rights advocate. After working for dozens of campaigns and causes across the country, she moved back to her home state of Texas to meet the fight for voting rights head on.

Rep. Shawn Thierry
Texas House District 146
Shawn Thierry represents TX House District 146, covering the Southeast and Southwest parts of greater Houston. She is a native Houstonian, proud product of public education, and a graduate of Howard University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

“I love Barbara Jordan for many reasons but one of the things that draws me to her the most is the sheer love she had for the state of Texas.”
-Olivia Julianna
“It was her words in showing that you can’t just claim to believe in our constitution when you want to.”
-Tayhlor Coleman
“To say there is not hope in the courts is to deny our history.”
-Skye Perryman

“When you look at the environment we’re in today it’s so partisan. But I look at this work as building a coalition of people who believe democracy is worth the fight, and I don’t mean who you’re voting for.”
-Tayhlor Coleman

What You Can Do

Your commitment makes us stronger as we work to bring the voices of people and communities into the most important fights in courts throughout the country. Here are three ways you can continue to support our fight for democracy:

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Share with us who inspired you to get involved in the fight for democracy.

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Over the next five years, we will continue to work together to address the challenges ahead. With your help, we can leverage our collective power to stop the law from being used in regressive ways and to build for a better future.

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We’ll be sharing moments of impact, stories of inspiration, and ways to power the ongoing fight for democracy in the years to come at #worththefight. Use #worththefight to follow along!

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