I come bustling up the stairs of the state house scanning the crowd for a familiar face. Tons of people are milling about; bells are clanging, voices swarming, it’s hot. I’m wondering if I’ve gone to the wrong spot and start texting someone for directions.
I joyously spot Emma, who waves me over to a group feverishly writing requests to summon their Rep for a second of precious conversation. Standing back, I consider that I hadn’t seen my colleagues because they look so natural in this chaos. Mostly young, overwhelmingly women, taking names and explaining legislation to the people writing the rulebook like every day is BeeDay. Everyone looks poised, calm, cool, and prepared. It’s clear that they belong there.
Non-Bees in attendance appear frazzled and bristled. People in uniform have clogged most of the entryway to the House and are clamoring for a word with their Rep. while Bees gladly push through the hordes toward the frontlines.
The irony doesn’t escape me that, if the house passes The Healthy Youth Amendment, firefighters and police officers may be able to protect the citizens of South Carolina without begging their Reps. for desperately needed funding. Like crime and disasters, it is much cheaper to prevent STIs and teen pregnancy than to pay for the consequences of ignorance.
Leaving the State House, the Bees were buzzing with energy and excitement. It’s clear that the day was a huge success for those involved and will be pivotal in the fight toward improving and expanding sex education in our state. As we departed with smiles on our faces and the glow of empowerment on our cheeks, we made personal commitments to fueling the movement in our own unique way, whether through continued advocacy, emails, phone calls, or support for fellows Bees.
Today, the fight continues as we rally once again in support of medically-accurate, accessible and comprehensive sex education for our youth. So, come on, join the hive and make every day BeeDay.
Sarah Kelley graduated with her Master of Social Work from Tulane University in 2011 and is currently finishing her Master of Public Health at University of South Carolina. She enjoys petting her fur babies, clanging on her drum set, and learning archery without causing bodily harm.