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Austin women’s march draws up to 50,000

Photo+by+Sophie+Ryland.
Photo by Sophie Ryland.

Photo by Sophie Ryland.

Photo by Sophie Ryland.

Sophie Ryland

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Up to 50,000 demonstrators met at the Capitol on Saturday Jan. 21 to protest President Trump’s statements about and actions towards women in the past and to promote feminist ideals.

The Austin protest was one of more than 600 sister marches worldwide, where more than 1 million people convened, all with the goal of conveying their rejection of the newly-inaugurated President on his first full day in office.

“I’m here today because I don’t want our country to go back,” said protester Laya Diamond-Waldman, who attended with her husband and newborn son.“I don’t want to reverse the progress that we’ve made, and I want them to know that we’re here and that we’re listening.”

Protesters walked a circuit Sixth Street and then back the Capitol in time to hear speakers such as former state Sen. Wendy Davis, musician Gina Chavez, and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, who condemned President Trump’s past behavior and encouraged further political activism.

Men and women alike wore thematic T-shirts, carried signs ranging in tone from humorous to defeated, and chanted phrases like, “Love Trumps Hate,” “My Body, My Choice,” and “Not My President” as they crowded the Capitol lawn.

“I heard something the other day that said we’re not protesting as much as protecting—protecting our rights to live and exist and to keep this a civil society,” said Rosalind Mingo-Dallas, a representative of the organization Emily’s List.

Protesters cited a wide range of reasons for marching including worries over Trump’s stance on abortion, health care and climate change as well as condemnation of his xenophobic rhetoric.

Demonstrator Kat Creech said that the purpose of the march was not to reject President Trump but rather to send him a message.

“To have, not a boycott of the President of the United States, but to make sure he understands and that the cabinet members understand and that democracy understands that it is not okay for privileged white men to think that they can take whatever they want without rhyme or reason, or that it’s okay to treat those ‘beneath them’ with less respect and dignity,” said demonstrator Kat Creech. “I think our one voice across the world will be heard.”

Many McCallum students attended the march, including sophomores Emily Horan and Jazzabelle Davishines.

“I marched because I’m very pro-choice, and I don’t think anyone, including the government, should tell women what to do with their bodies, especially in regards to abortion and women’s healthcare,” Davishines said. “I feel like that should be up to the individual.”

Many protesters say they hope that the march will show President Trump that there is a community of people who will not hesitate to challenge him through activism during his four-year tenure.

“I marched…to show that I cared about the subject, that it was a real thing, because the more people there are, the bigger this gets noticed, and when it gets noticed, people take action,” Horan said. “I marched to show that people need to take action, including myself.”

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Austin women’s march draws up to 50,000