Sarah Weddington shares anecdotes from her life experiences
Emily Nickles, Editor-in-Chief
Laugh, learn, lead — the essential elements for growth according to Roe vs. Wade lawyer Sarah Weddington. Filled with wisdom and life experience, Weddington imparted some of her stories from college and her career to the public on March 29 at the Inaugural Jamison Lecture.
Weddington launched her lecture with participation from the crowd. Hailing the photographers from the audience, she gathered people from the crowd for a selfie with TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Carine Feyton and herself.
“The best speakers and leaders have a sense of humor,” began Weddington with a grin. Weddington didn’t need to prove her point as she engaged the audience with her upbeat attitude and anecdotes from her experience as a woman in a man’s world.
Weddington claimed that she is always looking for something inspirational to read, taking recommendations from friends and former students. Holding up a copy of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek, Weddington said the book helped her to think about why she became an activist for certain issues. “The first step of leadership is deciding why… For me, it was pushing back the barriers for women. There were a lot of barriers as I was maturing,” shared Weddington.
In basketball, Weddington remembered that her coach wouldn’t let the team run across the entire court, they could only play on half of the court. When she asked the coach why, her coach said that it might really hurt their “innards” – an allusion to a woman’s reproductive organs. It took a series of no’s like this and Weddington asking why, starting in the 70’s, for her to build a resume of changes in law made to expand the opportunities and rights for women.
Her acclaimed success, majorly starting with the Roe vs. Wade case, included a stint as Assistant to the President of the United States of America during President Jimmy Carter’s term. Despite her titles, Weddington is humbled by an inspirational quote by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” saying that she is working on this daily.
In a small gathering on March 30 with student leaders on campus, Weddington gave a recap of her speech the night before, with a few extra anecdotes that she was unable to share the night previous due to the time constraints. When asked what drove her to fight for expanding women’s opportunities and opportunities for minorities Weddington stated, “Because I had so many instances that people said ‘women don’t,’ ‘women can’t,’ ‘you can’t’ and, you know, I thought it was unfair and I wanted to change that.”