Women’s March on Austin, along with marches in D.C. and around the globe, intend to send a message on equal rights as Trump takes office


Texas State Capitol


Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

Organizers are expecting between 10,000 and 15,000 people to converge on the Texas State Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 21 for the 2017 Women’s March on Austin.
The event is “a sister march” to the national Women’s March on Washington, D.C., being held the same day to support the rights of women and other minorities as the country’s liberal and progressive populations brace themselves for the presidency of Donald Trump. The marches in D.C. and Austin — and cities in at least 41 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries — take place the day after Trump’s inauguration.

“We’re doing this to send a message to the incoming administration to let them know we are here, we have a strong voice. We want them to know we are strong and we are watching,” said Austin march organizer Melissa Fiero. “We do not intend to allow the rights and privileges for all marginalized communities we have fought so hard for to be pushed back.

“The guiding principle for the marches,” she added, “came from Hillary Clinton’s words: ‘Women’s rights are human rights.’”

And although the events are called women’s marches, Fiero stressed that the marches are open to all people, and that organizers would love to have more input and participation from other minority communities — especially the LGBT community.

Fiero said that while the idea started as a national march in Washington, D.C., “not everybody can go to D.C. So we wanted to have something here, in our own state capital, to send that same message not just to D.C., but to the political leaders right here in Texas.”

The 86th Texas Legislature, still under Republican control, convenes on Jan. 8. Numerous anti-LGBT bills have already been pre-filed, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said that passing an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” similar to North Carolina’s notorious and costly HB 2, is one of his priorities in this legislative session.

Organizers of the Austin march — and others around the country and beyond — are “just a group of people who came together out of an initial grassroots response to the election in November,” Fiero said. “It is a broad group, covering all ethnicities and beliefs. And our goal is to make this event as inclusive as possible, as beneficial as possible to as many different people as possible.

“It all arose out of a group of women frustrated with the outcome of the election, but it is open to all. It is intended for and open to anyone who is concerned about the rights of all marginalized people in this country.”

Fiero said Austin march organizers are “meeting as often as possible and handling the logistics and fundraising” to stage the event. “The city of Austin has worked so well with us. Everything is lined up and ready to go there [in terms of permits] for the marches. The people at the Capitol are also working with us, and everything is on track.”

Fiero said marchers in Austin will gather on the grounds of the State Capitol, on the south side of the property, facing Congress Avenue. The march begins at noon and participants will moved down Congress across 6th Street to La Vaca, then turn back across 11th Street and on to the Capitol grounds.

She said it should take about an hour and a half for the march to return to the Capitol grounds, and that there will be music performances there to entertain the marchers who get there first as they wait on the rest of the crowd to reach the site.

“When everyone has made it back, we’ll have a rally, with six to eight speakers telling the stories of why we’re concerned about potential setbacks under this administration,” Fiero said. “They’ll also be there to give people information and ideas on what they can do after the march to push the movement forward and keep our message in the forefront.”

Travel to Austin from various cities around the state for the march is being coordinated online through CrowdTrip.com. Cost from Dallas is about $31. To find the information, enter the search parameters, starting with a leave-from-Dallas date of Jan. 21.
For information on the Women’s March on Austin, visit MarchOnAustin.com or email Fiero at MarchOnAustin@gmail.com.

For information on the March on Washington, including charters to D.C. from different regions, visit WomensMarch.com. The site includes links to information on travel, and to sites with information on all the sister marches planned around the country, including a second Texas march planned for Jan. 21 in Brownsville, at 11 a.m. at Linear Park.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2016.