By Toni G. Atkins
Happy August! And, if I may say so myself, happy birthday to us!
Sixty years ago, my sister Tenia and I became official residents of Planet Earth, the United States, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Quite an accomplishment for two little girls! And what an amazing journey it has been since then.
To mark this occasion, I thought it would be nice to have Tenia share a few words in this month’s note, though many of the words she likes to use best, we may have to edit out before sending! Because Tenia is the youngest and insists that she has never, ever gotten to go first, I’ve asked her to start.
Hello to all my former neighbors in San Diego! I do have to say that I may not have been the first born, but I was the first of us Atkins’ to come to San Diego! Well except for Dad in WWII of course!
When I was enlisted in the Navy, I asked Toni if she could move out and help with my newborn son. I think she set a Land Speed Record getting here, and clearly, it was love at first sight! Over the years, one of the things I’ve appreciated about Toni is the support she still gives military families, especially those having trouble making ends meet. Having lived in Virginia and San Diego, myself, I also love how she has been able to bridge those two worlds together. Where I think she is wrong, though, is when she starts…
—Thanks Tenia, happy birthday and I’ll take it from here!
August is going to be busy in the Capitol. We have to deal with all remaining bills and budget fixes by the end of the month. That means as soon as I’m done safely blowing out the candles, I’ll be part of the final negotiations for important bills on climate; women’s health care and abortion access, including my bill SB 1375; and worker protections, as well as casting votes on bills that will improve our state on behalf of all Californians. This follows some great work in June, when the Legislature passed one of the best state budgets in history, with funding that helps people now, invests in the future, and includes safeguards in the event of an economic downturn. The budget also provides many local benefits, which you can read about in this edition of the newsletter. I am also pleased that SCA 10, my bill to enshrine abortion and reproductive rights in the state constitution, passed both houses of the Legislature before its June 30 deadline, and will appear on the November 2022 ballot as Proposition 1.
This is such an unusual and concerning time in our area, our state, and our nation. With many of our rights under attack, it feels as if our communities, friends and families are drifting farther and farther apart. I have to believe that division isn’t permanent, however. Rather, it is a temporary situation created by dark-monied, dark-intentioned forces pumping their poison into our society. We have to look at everything we can do to push back and make our politics healthy again. Clearly, organizing and voting are two big components of that.
But it’s also important to remember who we are, and who the people we know, and work with, and live by, and love, are and focus on the value of those relationships. The long-term stability of our nation depends on a majority of us finding common ground and casting aside extremists of every persuasion. As Tenia said, building bridges is important. Maybe never more important than it is right now.
Thank you for reading. And thank you, Tenia, for being the best sister—younger, older, whatever—that any twin could hope for!