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Ashly Benson, Katie Oliver and Heidi Leingang, Bismarck, Published June 08 2013

Letter: We will remember your votes

The threat to our rights during North Dakota’s recently concluded legislative session was disappointing, heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. Disappointing and heartbreaking for the reasons that family planning, women’s rights, women’s health, reproductive autonomy and the rights of LGBT residents of our state were attacked. Inspiring because it moved people to stand up and have a voice against this type of disingenuous representation.

Because of the damage that was done in this session, we have started an awareness campaign called We Will Remember Your Vote to help show the voice of all those who are opposed. The initial mission of this project was to place a small flag on the North Dakota Capitol mall for each individual who wanted to voice opposition. This event was meant to be a nonviolent, powerful display of our collective voice and an easy, affordable way for all to participate. Participation required only an email to WWRYVND@gmail.com with your name, address and district information. Each flag contained only your name and legislative district.

This was a message to legislators that we will not forget the way they voted the next time we go to the polls.

As a woman or LGBT in North Dakota right now, it is easy to feel defeated – to feel as though we’ve been pushed back 40 years and have lost our voice.

Though the disappointments with legislators seem to abound, one positive thing that has come out of this debate-sparking term has been the recognition that we do have a voice. If nothing else, we should be grateful that the government was organized in such a way that our representatives are held to the standards of the voters with each election.

We should not let extremists take our North Dakota away by turning it into a state we are ashamed to call home.