Tens of thousands attend Women's March on Austin

Women's March on Austin

The Women's March in Washington prompted more than 300 sister marches across the country, including one here in Austin.

APD estimated between 40,000 and 50,000 people attended the march in front of the Texas State Capitol Saturday afternoon, many with a message to share. 

"My body, my choice," a group of women said.

"Their body, their choice," the men answered back.

Some expressed anger while others promoted peace. 

"I think there's a time and a place to be furious and this is the time," one woman said. 

On President Donald Trump's first day in office, a sea of signs filled Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.

"Grab us by our brains," one woman said.

Thousands of men, women and children hit the pavement, each marching with a different message to the country's new administration.

 

 

"Today if for my kids," Jodee Neil said. 

She made the drive from Dallas because she felt she had to be here with her sign.

"It just represents the work that we have to do and the resisting," Neil said. 

She said demonstrators like herself are fighting not just for women, but for anyone who feels marginalized by today's political climate.

"For all the women who are thrown away - it's for the healthcare they don't get," Neil said. 

"I'm marching for women's rights, women's equality, for the gay and lesbian community," another woman nearby said.

Saturday's march was peaceful and no arrests were reported.

Austin-Travis County EMS reported that between 30 and 45 patients were treated for various medical complaints at the march. 15 people were transported to area hospitals. Some of the illnesses included overheating and chest pain, ATCEMS said.

After the march, the crowds gathered to listen to several important speakers on the South Lawn of the Capitol.

One of those speakers was 27-year-old Austin native Lizzie Velasquez, who was born with a rare congenital disease and has been bullied for her appearance. Velasquez uses the negativity aimed at her to create a positive message.

"To represent the disability community, you don't know how proud I am," Velasquez told the massive crowd. "It might be a little squeaky voice like mine, it might be a voice that sounds like it's coming through a megaphone, whatever voice you have - raise it."

Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis also spoke at the rally.

"I am just humbled to be here with all of the people who came from across the state to be here," Davis said. 

Davis rose to fame as a women's rights advocate after filibustering for 11 hours against a restrictive abortion bill, House Bill 2, in 2013.

Nearly four years later, she says the words that come to mind as she looks at the tens of thousands of protesters in front of the Capitol building are, "Powerful...inspiring...fearless."

Other speakers included Representative Senfronia Thompson and award-winning singer/songwriter Gina Chavez. 

(Photo: Mike Holp, holpphotography.com)

 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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