Many of you have reached out, wondering if March On! Texas is sponsoring a Women’s March on Austin 2018. We have discussed this at length over the last few weeks and we have decided the answer is no. And we wanted to share the reasons with you.
The Women’s March 2017 was the largest global march in history and the Austin sister march was the largest protest in Texas history— over 100,000 women (and men) strong.
The Women’s March was a special moment in time. It gave hope to others that we were not alone in resistance to the racism, sexism and xenophobia that Trump and members of the alt-right supported. It brought together millions across the globe in a perfect alignment of peace and protest.
But can it be repeated? Or should it be? Our belief is no for several reasons:
It was a perfect moment of energy and purpose that is not likely to be recreated. While we love that there are marches taking place around the country and in Texas, March On! feels it is best to let the 2017 Austin March stand as the single largest protest in Texas history.
This movement is strong and people have turned their energy to the next steps in the March. Namely, resisting more directly the actions of this administration and working to elect progressive candidates at all levels to effect long term change in our country.
Cost and manpower to conduct an event of this type correctly is enormous. Cost alone for the 2017 March was approximately $45,000. Not to mention the six weeks of long days and worried nights. We feel that effort is better directed towards the next steps.
Instead, in conjunction with the national March On sister march organization, we are working on March to the Polls 2018. The national goal is to register one million women to vote prior to the 2018 elections. We will be providing you with information on voter registration events, progressive candidates in Texas and volunteer opportunities for candidates.
But fear not! Want to put feet to pavement? There are intrepid folks out there who are hosting an anniversary Women’s March that you can join! Here are the one’s we know about and we will post on Facebook if we learn about others.
There is an event planned for this evening, across 9 major cities, to scream into the sky helplessly ‘WHY!?!’ to commemorate the anniversary of Donald Trump upsetting politics (and sanity) winning the presidential election a year ago today.
The concept is ridiculously silly and funny, and might be a fun thing to do over cocktails bitching about Trump’s latest tweets. Yelling ‘why’ is cathartic, like reading Shattered or the damning excerpt of Donna Brazile’s new book in Politico. Sometimes it’s good to take stock and figure out what went wrong.
But if yesterday’s election in Virginia told us anything, it’s that it’s time for Progressives to ask a new question: Why not? As in, “Why not run?”
Many women (and men) choose not to run for election because they think they lack the typical qualifications: years in politics, a law degree, a spotless background. Donald Trump, bless his heart, proved that none of that really mattered. What mattered was connecting with your base and getting them to show up on election day, the one day that matters most. In terms of competence, Trump has set the bar so low that many novices now have the confidence to say, “Well, I might not know the elected job yet, but I know I’ll do a better job than him!”
A more likely scenario though is that women who are incredibly smart, capable and qualified have become motivated to get in the game. They have been affected viscerally by Trump’s sexism, racism, xenophobia and bad policies and no longer feel that they can remain on the sidelines. They answered the call: You marched; now run.
Since January there has been a surge of women signing up to campaign for positions big and small and the new feminist activism has been record breaking. Last night in Virginia 15 seats flipped from Republican to Democrat, and 11 of those were by women.
The transgender community also asked, “Why not?” and made history. Danica Roem became the first transgender woman to win a House of Delegates seat in Virginia. What made that even sweeter was that she defeated Del. Bob Marshall, the Republican incumbent who refers to himself as the state’s, “chief homophobe” and has consistently promoted anti-LGBT legislation, including a bathroom bill.
Trans woman Andrea Jenkins was the first transgender person elected to a major city’s governing body (Minneapolis) and the first trans person of color elected any office in the U.S. Charlotte elected its first female African-American mayor, Sheila Oliver became the first woman of color elected lieutenant governor of New Jersey, Ravi Bhalla became the first Sikh mayor in Hoboken history, and in Georgia’s House of Representative two seats that were so Republican they went uncontested in 2016 just flipped to Dems, because Why not?
Here at home, March On! Texas was following 15 local races across the state and guess what? Progressives won 10 of them!
It was the kind of progress for women, minorities of all stripes and progressive ideals we hoped and allowed ourselves to dream would happen last year. Last year that dream was shattered. Last year we screamed at the sky helplessly, ‘Why!?!’
Today we ask ourselves a better question. Why not? The answer is worth shouting for joy.
The morning after the 2016 presidential election a friend sent me a message telling me she had to explain to her five-year-old twins why a bully won. I can’t imagine how hard that conversation must have been for her. Or for the millions of parents around the country and the world.
As Hillary Rodham Clinton said during the campaign “Kids hear a lot more than we think.” Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama both made multiple speeches in 2016 about the dangerous effects a trump presidency could have on our children. From his hateful speeches, to his shocking policies, and the appalling appointment of Betsy Devos, there is no doubt that the trump administration is already taking a toll on our children from all directions.
Then the ICE raids and the discriminatory laws coming out of the Texas Leg, such as SB4 and the “bathroom bill” have many of our Texas children feeling directly threatened. The parents I know have been working overtime to counteract these attacks of hate.
I am not a parent but I am a firm believer in the idea that “it takes a village” and we are all responsible for teaching and nurturing the next generation. I built this list of tips based on my studies of child development, my experience as a childcare professional, and techniques I have watched some awesome parents practice with their kids.
These are things you can do as a parent, childcare professional, teacher, aunt, uncle, grandparent, neighbor, or community member to help nurture our little Texans…
Read to them – You might be surprised how much reading a book to a child will influence them. Children’s books are typically designed to teach children a life lesson and those stories may stick with them for years and years to come. Not to mention it will foster a love for reading and learning. One book that always stuck with me was “The Big Fish” in which a big fish takes a couple around the world to find a child to adopt. The couple starts out wanting a child whose skin matches their own but at the end they learn that people do not have to match to be a family.
Volunteer with them – Taking your kids to volunteer will teach them to be contributing members of society and the importance of giving back. Picking up trash at a local park or putting a fresh coat of paint on the neighborhood playscape will teach them that the community must all pitch in to take care of the places we share. Volunteering to serve meals at the homeless shelter, delivering food for meals on wheels, or reading to the elderly at a nursing home will help teach your kids empathy for people that don’t have all of the same privileges and abilities as they do.
Listen to them and talk with them – Parents hear it all the time, “talk to your kids about _________” drugs, sex, bullying. Well the same goes for politics and current events. Kids really do pay attention more than we think and they need help processing the world around them. If your child is in the room or the car when a story comes on the news that provokes hate or discrimination, talk to them about it. But before you talk, listen. Ask them what they think. Find out what they know or what they’ve heard at school or from their friends. Then help them work through that information and guide them in the right direction. Don’t lecture them on shoulds and shouldn’ts. Instead, have a conversation with them. Trust me, not only will they appreciate you treating them as an equal, but it will also help teach them to have productive conversations about tough issues.
Teach through example – Show children how to be compassionate and empathetic through being those things yourself. Show them your compassion by being sensitive to their feelings and reminding them that they are cared for. Show them your empathy by listening to their problems and concerns, no matter how small they may seem to you, and reacting appropriately. These small things go a long way. When they feel safe and cared for they will feel more comfortable extending that same compassion to others and you will help model ways they can express their empathy to others.
VOTE! – You can play a huge role in your child’s future by VOTING. Your local and state representatives will have a direct effect on your child’s education and opportunities. School board is one of the most important offices to keep any eye on. Voting in progressive and empathetic candidates will help promote diversity, compassion, and empathy in your child’s school and those influences will have a lasting impact on their life.
The next school board elections in Texas are on November 7th in these areas:
Friday night I started watching my Twitter, on edge that these young, college kids that were still at UVA for the summer were not equipped for what they may face. I watched Twitter until my eyes were scratchy and I couldn’t keep them open any longer.
Waking up Saturday I immediately opened my Twitter and didn’t take my eyes off of it. I sat, teeth unbrushed, still in pajamas, on the floor next to the wall where my phone was charging looking back and forth from my phone to my laptop. My chest started getting tight, I cried on and off, I didn’t eat, I called my mom yelling into the phone, not at her but at the world. After hanging up and feeling guilty that my mom was now worrying about me thousands of miles away and that crying wasn’t doing anything, I decided, enough.
So I refocused my attention to the great work we do here at March On. While it didn’t stop the car, or any of the poles and punches that crashed into incredibly brave counter-protestors, it channeled the anxious energy to action that will result in change locally here in Texas.
Not all of you would have seen our School Board campaign that started in the 12 districts with open seats this weekend, but some of you did. And some of you may file to run for the School Board because of it. And because of that some good has been set into motion; the books that are read and the way Texas children are educated may soon change because we have more progressives in these seats. And this may give critical thinking skills to know when to question or to research what’s fake or not, and give hope and less hate to children to create a better future. What I did wasn’t direct activism, but it was “proactivsm” and that’s what we focus on here at March On! Texas (while still getting our butts out to marches and supporting other great groups in Texas!). We feel that getting progressives in the position to make decisions is incredibly important.
If you’d like to consider running for School Board the 12 districts with open seats are: Houston ISD, Klein ISD, Leander ISD, Los Fresnos ISD, New Caney ISD, Schertz-Cibolo ISD, Spring ISD, College Station ISD, Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Bryan ISD, and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. The last day to file candidacy is August 21st.
If you’d like to learn more or sign up to volunteer, check out our website or email me – email@example.com.
In the wake of the horrific protests of Charlottesville and the implied encouragement of white supremacists by President Trump in his impromptu press event on Tuesday, activists across every spectrum have been hitting the pavement, holding signs and letting their voices be heard.
Today at Austin City Hall there was the Rally Against White Supremacy. It was non-violent and speakers with diverse backgrounds discussed ways to take action to promote greater equality in our country.
Activists from the Black, Latino, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Transgender and White communities spoke, as well as Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Mayor Steve Adler, which we live streamed on our Facebook page.
One speaker from Black Lives Matter challenged everyone at the rally to not feel good about just showing up and holding a sign, but to really promote change by seeking more budget money in marginalized communities and holding elected officials accountable or work hard to replace them with better ones.
Several speakers reminded everyone to be active bystanders; if you see someone bullying a minority speak up!
“Isms” (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) has always been with us, but under the leadership of President Trump the fringe hate groups feel like they have a friend in the White House and that it is suddenly now okay to try to turn on our neighbors. It’s not.
One rally isn’t going to change the world, but it’s a step in the right direction. At March On! Texas we encourage everyone to become everyday activists.
Tolerance can and should be taught to our youngest citizens at local schools. Did you know that 12 districts are having local school board elections in November? Here are some reasons why that’s important and why everyone should vote: School Board Elections
This week (every week?) has been filled with distractions from the Executive branch. I heard a comedian once liken Donald Trump to a monkey in a theatre flinging feces at the audience so no one would pay attention to the actual play going on.
His divisive remarks about Charlottesville, saying that somehow the “alt-left” was partly to blame for Neo-Nazis and the KKK causing chaos leaving three people dead, is dangerous but unsurprising from him. We all knew what he really thought about diversity.
Once again, we must look to ourselves for leadership. One of the most eye-popping articles I read was about a father repudiating his 30 year-old son in his local newspaper for joining the alt-right/white supremacists rally: He didn’t learn this at home.
Another article that connected with me was an interview with the former high school teacher of James Alex Fields Jr., the man who used his car to strike counter protesters killing one and injuring 19. The teacher said that Fields was bright but misguided and handed in a paper basically glorifying Nazi views. The teacher felt like he failed because he wasn’t able to counter this young man’s skewed views.
These two articles resonated with me because it brings back the importance of making sure our students are educated with facts and not revisionist history distorted from the dark corners of the alt-right internet. The information that young men and women fill their brain with matters.
While no one has control over the world wide web, we do have a say in the text books they read. That’s why there was such an uproar in 2015 when the Texas Board of Education approved textbooks that said Moses was a Founding Father and slaves were “workers” from Africa. Now, more then ever, it is important that we teach tolerance and truth from a very young age.
After this weekend’s events many were left asking, “How can I get involved? What can I do?” Let’s think local.
There are 12 school districts that have seats open on their school boards. These districts include: Houston, Klein, Leander, Los Fresnos, New Caney, Schertz-Cibolo, Spring, College Station, Aldine, Alief, Bryan and Cypress-Fairbanks.
Wouldn’t it be great if these school boards had some progressive candidates elected to them? The deadline to file candidacy is Monday, August 21.
Know someone that lives in a district that would be great candidate? Share this post with them or tag them in it!
We must do what we can at the local level to ensure that tolerance is taught to the greatest assets we have, our children.
March on y’all
P.S. – If you do know a progressive running, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear and help!
Putin, like the scheming Littlefinger, is laughing at all the chaos he has caused and is celebrating with shirtless selfies in Siberia.
But our own boy-king Donald Trump, in GoT Joffrey fashion, upped the game when he made off-the-cuff comments about raining “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea for it’s newfound nuclear capabilities. Kim Jung-un didn’t seem too scared of this rhetoric though, as he then proceeded to threaten to nuke Guam.
As if this political brinksmanship drama wasn’t enough, an existential threat greater than the White Walkers was exposed when federal scientists leaked a report about climate change to the New York Times because they feared their own government, aka the Trump administration, would suppress or change it.
Where’s Khaleesi on a dragon when you need her?
I guess we have to be our own heroes. Here’s how:
Want better leaders? Vote for them! Not sure about the who/what/where/how of voting in local elections? There’s an app for that: Voter’s App
Sick of all the vicious verbal barbs? We are too: Civility
Want to do even more? Volunteer to work on the issues that matter most to you. Be part of the solution. Want to be inspired? Read: The Silver Lining of the 2016 Election (Warning: it might make you cry…or volunteer.)
I want to tell y’all about my mom. Like most women I know, the older I get the more I appreciate her and everything she has done to help me become the woman I am. Now, I don’t know if she directly set out to raise a feminist or activist, but she most definitely played an invaluable role in helping me become the person I am today.
My mom taught me what it meant for a woman to be an equal in the home and also run her own business. She taught me the importance of being aware of politics. She taught me the importance of voting. She taught me the importance of giving back and being a productive and active member of your community. I don’t remember her directly talking to me about any of these things, she always taught me through example.
On November 8th, there was no one I would have rather spent election day with than my mom. Before the results came in we sat around the kitchen table talking about how far women have come just from her generation to mine and what it would mean for us to have a woman president.
I don’t have to tell y’all what happened next. We were devastated, to say the least.
The day after the election I was having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed and go to school. My mom reminded me that if I stop trying, that’s when they truly win. I had to keep learning, working, and doing all of the things I wanted to do, to show them I couldn’t be stopped.
In a clip from Late Night with Seth Myers, Amber Ruffin beautifully summed up this concept when she said –
“By doing what you do every day you prove to them that you are unstoppable. They can spend their time trying to pass laws to take way your rights and silence your voice but all you have to do is live your lives right in their faces and it proves to them that we simply cannot be stopped.”
When I heard about the Women’s March on Washington I wanted more than anything to be there, but knew it would be highly unlikely that I would be able to make the trip. I have a fair amount of activist experience and had organized rallies and marches in the past, so I started making a list of people to contact to start planning a Women’s March on Austin.
Later that very day I got on Facebook and saw I was not the first with this idea, an event page had been created. Shortly after I had a conversation with Melissa Fiero and joined the planning committee.
We were a group of strangers and in less than 50 days we organized what ended up being the largest protest in Texas history. We hoped for a few thousand marchers and final estimates reached 100,000. We could have never predicted such an amazing, warm, peaceful, and uplifting turn out. It was everything we dreamed of and so so much more. Thank you, to all who marched, for far beyond exceeding our expectations.
The day of the March, once again, there was one person I wanted by my side. My mom. She was so excited to be there. But the night before she called to tell me she had to go in for emergency eye surgery for a detached retina. As soon as it occurred to me that this meant she couldn’t march with me, my heart was broken. No matter how she tried to find a way around it, she was on specific doctor’s orders NOT to attend the march under any circumstances. Since we weren’t going to be able to take a photo together at the march, we took a picture together with signs the night before and she made me promise to still enjoy the march as if she was there.
The day of the march I was in the front with the banner and the dignitaries welcoming and directing marchers as they arrived. I had been focusing my attention towards the capitol and when I turned around to look down congress, I was completely blown away by what I saw. There was a flood of people filling the street walking north, towards the capitol. I immediately started jumping up and down, hugging my fellow organizers, and yelling, “there’s a march TO The March!!”
Then I looked to the east on 11th street and saw another flood of people. I looked west on 11th street, and it was the same scene. That was when it hit me how amazing and monumental this things we were doing was. We were truly making history. It was the happiest and most proud moment of my life.
For a moment I stood there, watching the wave of people walking towards me, and I shed a few tears. Overwhelmed by the love, support, and hope I felt from the people surrounding me and wishing my mom was there to see this absolutely majestic sight. Before that moment, I had many reasons for marching, from justice for sexual assault survivors, to my future children. But in that moment, I decided that above all, I was marching for my mom, and everything she taught me.
Since the Women’s March I have loved hearing stories of people’s experiences at the March. I can’t tell you how many women have told me “that march brought me back to life.” One woman told me that she hadn’t left her house since the election because she was so scared and depressed and when she went to the march she saw that she was not alone. That is what we at March On keep hearing over and over – “I thought I was the only one.”
You are not alone.
After the election it would have been too easy for me, or any of us, to fall into a deep depression. And don’t get me wrong, it’s been hard, very hard, but my mom’s advice to keep working and keep doing what I do, no matter what, has kept me going. Planning the Women’s March gave me something positive to focus my energy into. It showed me the good in people, instead of being sucked into the bad.
The satisfaction you get from being involved in an issue you are passionate about is not something I currently have the words to describe.
So, I challenge you – decide what you are most passionate about. Is it women’s reproductive rights? Is it immigration rights? Is it electing progressive candidates to public office? Whatever it is, find a way to get involved. See for yourself just how satisfying, uplifting, and empowering it can be.
My mom has always taught me to find the bright side or the silver lining in bad situations. Without a doubt, my silver lining of the unexpected results of the 2016 presidential election is the number of everyday people it has motivated into political action.
Now is your time. Now is our time. To have a say in what happens next. To be the change. Don’t miss your chance, get involved, in whatever way that means for you.
To understand why I march on Texas, you may need to know a little about me. Born and raised in Texas, I attended public Texas schools and colleges. Being the son of a Republican Air Force officer and a Democrat teacher, I understand that the issues that face this state are not partisan, they’re not black or white, and they’re not blue or red. But the truth is we live in a climate where politicians drive a wedge between neighbors and families in the interest of their own personal gain. I march on Texas because I realize the time is now to organize and take action.
After graduating from the University of North Texas, I moved to New York to pursue a career as a (struggling) freelancer. When I turned 26, I aged out of my parents’ healthcare. At the time, I was working multiple jobs and struggling just to stay afloat. So when I went to healtchare.gov to find coverage, I was shocked and relieved to find that I qualified for Medicaid. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but coming from a state that refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, I had never seen the system work like it was supposed to. Being young and healthy, I never had to use my Medicaid, but knowing that I was covered in case of an emergency gave me and my parents great peace of mind.
Fast forward a couple years, I move back to Texas to pursue a Teacher’s Certification and a career as a Texas public school teacher. Having lost my status as a Texas resident, I spent my first year biding my time until I qualified for in-state tuition. During this time, my financial stability remained about the same as it was in New York (not stable at all), but one thing did change: I lost healthcare coverage.
Back on healthcare.gov, I looked up my options for health-insurance providers available to me. Because I lived in Texas, I no longer qualified for Medicaid. And without subsidies, the options available to me here were just not feasible to fit into my budget. Even with the minimum coverage, A $350 monthly premium and a $5000 deductible meant that I was too poor to have healthcare in the State of Texas. My healthcare plan became the emergency room, and there was nothing I could do about it.
What I saw on that page was not the failure of the Affordable Care Act, but the outcome of disruptive policies by Texas’ politicians who are willing to destabilize the lives of their own constituents in order to win a rhetorical game for their own gain in the national political theater.
When I hear Texans and Texas business owners saying the Affordable Care Act is broken, I can’t help but think to myself, ‘that’s because those in power in this state won’t let it work the way it was designed’. Yes, ACA is not perfect, but the truth has been distorted by disruptive Tea Party politics and self-interested politicians seeking to dismantle public interest, privatize power, and sell our state to corporate oligarchs.
I march on Texas because I believe in the public interest. I march on Texas because I believe we are all less free when oligarchs can dismantle our democratically created institutions against the will and interest of the people. And I march on Texas because the time is now to bring about the change we need in this state to ensure all Texans have access to preventative healthcare and are provided for when they are sick or in need of medicine.