Protesters rally at Capitol in support of equal rights

Brigit Benestante

Protesters gathered in front of the Capitol as part of a civil rights rally Sunday night, fighting for issues including reproductive health care, equal pay and voting rights. 

The group, escorted by police, marched down Congress Avenue to Cesar Chavez Street, Lavaca Street, 11th Street and then back to the Capitol. 

The rally’s organizer, Kristian Caballero, is a regular local activist. Caballero organized several marches in the summer, as well as one in response to the passing of the controversial omnibus abortion curtailing bill over the summer, which had a turnout of more than 3,000 people. 

“There was this momentum, where you just felt this social awakening happen,” Caballero said. “There was this consciousness where you realized that this is not the only issue infringing on peoples’ civil rights.”

Caballero wanted to bring together a group that focused on issues such as workers’ rights, immigration rights, gay and lesbian rights and women’s rights.

Computer science freshman Alex Abbott passed by the rally and noticed a sign the group held up, reading “Feminists Against Racism.”

“I think it’s good to see a group focusing on many different rights instead of just one,” Abbott said. “I’ve never really been into protests or rallies, but it’s important to see people standing up for what they believe in … especially when so many of these issues affect our everyday lives.”

Allyssa Milan, a local activist and supporter of the rally, used the suspected bleach bombings in West Campus, where an allegedly bleach-filled balloon was thrown at an African American male outside of University Towers, as incentive to go forward with the rally. According to UT officials, preliminary findings indicate the balloon was filled with water.

“This cannot stand,” Milan said. “We must unite against this hatred and inhumanity … I’m glad to see people will be involved in this march.”