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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. 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.
“Where were you on the day of the Women’s March?”It’s going to be one of those snapshot-in-time questions like, “Where were you on 9/11?”This week, as we pause to reflect about unified civil disobedience, pink pussycat hats and a day of power, I’m almost ashamed to admit where I was:
Having a panic attack on a treadmill.
I had donated to Hillary’s campaign, but didn’t put a sign up on my lawn (too risky).Half my family voted for Donald Trump and were openly gloating about it to the point where I stopped answering my text messages.
For decades I’ve been voting and everyone knows that you win some, you lose some; this was the first time ever though that I’ve felt scared by the outcome. Yes, I was pro-Hillary, and although saddened that we didn’t make history with the first woman president, that’s not why I was crying on election night and hyperventilating on inauguration day. I was (am still!) legitimately frightened that Donald Trump is in charge of the nuclear codes.
Who knew what things white supremacist Stephen K. Bannon was whispering into Donald Trump’s ear and how that would translate into law?If Trump’s campaign rhetoric was true that would mean that he has a rubber stamp to pass his unconstitutional Muslim ban, reinstate “stop and frisk”, stop supporting the Paris Climate Accord, overturn Roe v. Wade and build that wall.And with conservatives’ majorities in both chambers and now the Supreme Court too to rubber stamp his ideas, would I even recognize my own country four years from now?
And then something wonderful happened.Pictures of the Women’s March…in TEXAS…started entering my newsfeed.People participated across the globe in the millions and even in Texas!Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone anymore.I wasn’t brave enough to go to the march, but they did.
I remember reading in history class about peaceful protests and civil rights movements and wondering what I would do if I were in that situation. Would I get involved or stay safely silent?On the day of the Women’s March I went through some extreme vetting of my own morals and decided it was time for me to speak up.
I went to a digital organizing class for Progressives, where I met Melissa Fierro who organized the march in Texas, shattering Texas history that day with 100,000 participants.There was so much energy she and a group of volunteers formed March On! Texas to keep up the momentum.March On! Texas has a mission to educate, motivate and activate women to help speak out for issues important to us and to help elect Progressives at the local level.
Since volunteering with them, I’ve regained a sense of power and optimism that was crushed during the entire campaign season.Some of the things I participated in included:
·Blue Ribbon Lobby Day – groups of us got to meet with our representatives at the state capitol and talk about local legislation that was important to us, including women’s reproductive rights, public education and health care.
·Help craft and send out weekly marching orders that gave three actions to do that week to help promote our Progressive agenda.
·Wrote letters to both senators and did a blog post explaining how healthcare directly impacted me and my family and encouraged others to do the same.
·We asked people throughout the state of Texas to send us names of Progressives running for local elections.Marchers identified over 70 names, 45 of them women!One volunteer created an interactive map that linked to candidates’ websites to get the word out.
·We reached out to the candidates, encouraged people to attend meet-and-greets, volunteer, fundraise, and of course get out there and vote!16 progressive candidates won, which is a step in the right direction, and also shows us how much further we need to keep going.
·Volunteers supported other groups by sharing events on our calendar and attending marches and information sessions.If you attended a march for the environment, LBGTQIA, Muslim rights, civil rights, town halls and/or reproductive rights chances are you met someone from March On! Texas there too.
·In the day of “fake news” and “alternative facts” we have strived to share accurate information through our Facebook page from credible sources and blog posts educating and inspiring people to learn more about local politics and how we can make a difference.
·We strive to share stories of everyday activists, feminist powerhouses and artists standing up for values we believe in.
So, my message to anyone out there who didn’t march on that day is that you can still make a difference!Don’t beat yourself up for missing out on one march, because that was yesterday and this is today.Life is full of small choices you make each and every day and I hope you choose to join us in supporting local Progressive candidates and fighting for women’s rights, equal rights and an inclusive American society.Let’s make Texas blue again!
You may or may not have heard about the #NRA2DOJ Women’s March to take place this weekend in Virginia. Here are some facts about it:
The Women’s March in Washington D.C. happened the day after President Trump’s inauguration and inspired sister marches around the world. The march was organized around Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of non-violent civil protests. If you attended the march, or saw pictures from it, you viewed millions of women, men and children peacefully marching and holding up signs that promoted unity.
Part of this unity includes standing up for principles progressives believe in, including racial equality.
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile, an African American school employee, was pulled over by police officer Jeronimo Yanez in Minnesota for a routine traffic stop. When Castile mentioned to the police officer that he had a gun in the car (which he had a permitted license to carry) he was shot, even though he was following Yanez’s instructions to show his driver’s license. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter were in the car with him to him. Reynolds live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook, as Philando moaned next to her. He died 20 minutes later in the hospital. (Officer Yanez was since acquitted of all charges.)
The NRA (National Rifle Association) is usually very vocal about the right to bear arms, their stated mission. But in this particular instance, when a black man with a gun permit was shot by a police officer, they said absolutely nothing in his defense.
The Women’s March called the NRA to take action on this point. Soon after, the NRA posted a right-wing activist ad that promotes an “us vs. them” scenario implying that progressives marching for civil rights are violent and a threat. You can see the ad here:
“In response, Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory penned an open letter to the NRA calling for the ad to be removed and an apology to be issued to the American public for the false and inflammatory rhetoric. Instead of distancing themselves from the vitriol, the NRA responded by releasing a new video attacking Tamika and other leaders personally and doubling down on the implied call to arms. This is the kind of incendiary speech that leads to acts of hate and violence, and it is unequivocally meant to create a chilling effect on communities speaking up and using the power of our collective voice.” (Letter from the Women’s March).
After that, the Women’s March decided to organize a peaceful protest to demonstrate the following things:
“On July 14th & 15th, Women’s March and partners will mobilize a mass demonstration, again grounded in the principles of Kingman nonviolence, to denounce the false and intimidating rhetoric of hatred and send a clear message that our movement will proudly and bravely continue to strive for the respect of the civil and human rights of all people.”
Here are the details of the #NRA2DOJ March:
For more details you can go directly to their website here: WomensMarch.
We range from college students to women who marched in the 1960’s. We are mothers and millennials and nasty women. And if you call us “snowflakes” we’ve got news for you:
Winter is Coming.
Most of us were fans of politics, but we never really got in the game. We might donate money to a candidate, but never walk the block for them. We might post a meme on Facebook, but never actively engaged with our neighbors. Not really.
Not until Donald Trump became President Trump.
And then we marched. And then realized that marching wasn’t enough. March On! Texas started as a sister march but it has grown since then. Our goals are to go local and focus on how we can turn Texas blue again.
Did you know that Texas used to be led by Democrats? Despite the gerrymandering done after the 2010 census, a lot of us still exist.
On election night we progressives in the shadows were hoping to shatter the glass ceiling for that highest, hardest wall; instead we were shattered to find that despite losing the popular vote by 3,000,000, Donald Trump became the leader of our country.
He bragged about sexually assaulting women. He openly discriminated against Muslims, immigrants, the disabled and people of color. His foreign policy changed with the wind, he put white supremacists, climate-change-deniers and people with zero experience in positions of power, and his son Don Jr. just tweeted out an email chain showing his campaign loved the idea of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton directly from the Russian government.
All this could have left us collapsed and destroyed, believing that the system is rigged and we are powerless, but on the contrary we are stronger. Democrats were broken but the new Progressive activists are rising up empowered.
Our notions of just donating money and hoping for the best are shattered.
Our excuses for not getting involved are shattered.
Our trust in leaving it up to someone else has been shattered.
We are the new activists.
We love our country. We are putting ourselves on the line and we will not stop until we see progressives and moderates back in power.
Civility… It’s a two-way street. Bitch, slut, pig she was bleeding from wherever, low IQ, crazy. Words we hear nearly every day coming from our president. Not presidential? No. Language of the gutter? Yes. Exclusive to Donald Trump? Not by a long shot.
We are appalled and outraged at the low level of discourse our president seems to think is okay. He is president of the United States of America! He should hold himself to a higher moral standard! He should set a better example for our children! But what level of moral standard do we hold ourselves to? What kind of example are we setting for our children?
Everyday I see posts on Facebook making pejorative comments about Kellyanne Conway’s looks or calling her a bitch. Ivanka Trump is a bimbo, slut or worse. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a fat cow or stupid. And the president is called names so vile that if our kids said it, we would ground them for a month. People in glass houses better be careful of throwing stones.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to preach or get on my moral high horse. I can’t stand the sight of Donald Trump. The sound of his voice makes my skin crawl. (And for those of you who know me, I have the mouth of a sailor.) And I have been guilty of every single thing I mentioned above.
But I started recognizing the hypocrisy of being appalled at those on the right for doing or condoning what I was guilty of doing myself. And I realized when I heard my husband call a woman on the right something unsavory my blood pressure would rise and I found myself defending them.
Because we cannot expect more from others than we expect from ourselves. A simple truth most of us forget in our horror and anger at what is being done to our country. And the manner and style in which DJT chooses to do it. But, as Michelle Obama famously said and has so often been quoted, “When they go low we go high.” Let’s go high people.