In 1994, Joe Biden co-authored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It has been reauthorized every year since then ... until now. For the first time, in 2013, certain members of the Senate refused to allow VAWA's reauthorization because they were concerned it offered too many protections to women in minority communities. The good news is that the version of VAWA reauthorized in 2005 is still in effect. The bad news is that Congress is still finding new ways to deny women their rights and discriminate on the basis of race at the same time.
In early 2012, Joe Biden gave an incredibly powerful speech calling for the reauthorization of VAWA. After hearing this, Congress should be ashamed of itself for allowing VAWA to lapse. I found it hard to pick just one quote from the speech (although this one is pretty great) to share with you, so here's the whole damn thing.
- At 2:03 he explains how he got VAWA passed in 1994 with bipartisan support.
- At 4:50 he makes a whole lot of sense.
- At 7:41 he talks about what VAWA taught women, men, and even politicians.
- At 10:40 he talks about the "bizarre" warnings he got when trying to pass VAWA.
- At 11:10 he gets close to the mic for some real talk about perspective.
- At 13:29 he drops mad stats about what VAWA has accomplished for women since 1994.
- At 14:28 he reenacts a call received by one of the national domestic violence hotlines.
- At 15:45 he gets frustrated with Congress and proceeds to make a whole lot more sense.
- At 17:50 he talks about some of what's in the newest proposed version of VAWA (the version that wasn't reauthorized).
- At 18:45 he name-drops Hillary Clinton and explains how VAWA has changed the way the rest of the world sees America.
- At 22:45 he explains why VAWA is still necessary and relevant.
- And at 25:17 he brings it all home and makes me cheer, even alone in my apartment.