A Texas Woman Came Up With An Ingenious Plan To Sneak A Protest Banner Into State Capitol

"No one suspected anything."

Siri Rama Gurubhagavathula wanted to get a banner inside the state capitol in Austin, Texas, but she wasn't sure how to do it.

The 38-year-old is a member of  Texas 21 Indivisible group, a local chapter of the national progressive organization. Last week, Texas 21 was trying to make a statement inside the capitol but had to get around a prohibition on banners.

"As a group, we were talking about how to get the banner in," Gurubhagavathula told A Plus. "We were considering different garments and eventually we came to the idea that a sari would be one large enough to be a banner of the right size. Since I know how to wear a sari, I was willing to do that and take it in."

Gurubhagavathula, who is from India, has been living in the United States for 11 years. In October of 2016, she became a naturalized citizen. Along with her political activism, she works as an IT professional and frequently blogs on sustainabilityguru.org. 



The sari Gurubhagavathula wore that was actually a banner in disguise.
The sari Gurubhagavathula wore that was actually a banner in disguise. Siri Rama Gurubhagavathula

While many of the issues Gurubhagavathula and Texas 21 Indivisible were protesting had to do with local policies being pushed through during a special session, the demonstration also took place in the context of the larger national debate on health care. Texas has the highest uninsured rate of any state in the country, and Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are both trying to push through a repeal of Obamacare — something experts agree will increase the rate of the uninsured in America.

"A lot of progressive people even in the reddest parts of the district and they feel like their voices are not being heard," Gurubhagavathula said. "A lot of people here need that health care." 

Gurubhagavathula said it was pretty easy to get the banner in and that nobody suspected anything. But, she joked, "it may be difficult for anyone else going in to wear a sari from now on."

As for how the protest and the banner went over, Gurubhagavathula admitted it got some mixed reviews.

"It depends on who you ask," she said. "The response was overwhelmingly positive, I might say, from all the progressive groups. From people who disagree with our cause, the response was rather negative…so it goes both ways."

Cover photo: Siri Rama Gurubhagavathula

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