On the one year anniversary of President Donald Trump taking office, more than 1,000 people rallied together to call for his impeachment.
The Impeachment Rally began Saturday morning at City Hall with two hours of speakers, including local activists and former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who ran for governor in 2014. Davis then led the crowd in a march down Congress Avenue to rally again at the Capitol for women’s rights and to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Several speakers throughout the day stressed the need for political change and encouraged citizens to be active civically and vote.
“We have to realize that Trump is in office because a lot of people got lazy,” said Chas Moore, co-founder of local activist group Austin Justice Coalition. “A lot of us got comfortable. We didn’t go to the polls, we didn’t talk to our neighbors about our responsibilities as a democratic country.”
While speaking, Moore was interrupted by John Colgin who came to the front of the rally yelling and blaring a blow horn. Anti-Trump activist Alexei Wood then snatched Colgin’s Make America Great Again hat and ran off with it. Colgin chased him down — following a brief altercation — and both were arrested.
Colgin was one of about five Trump supporters who showed up to counter-protest the rally.
At the Capitol, the women’s rally and Roe v. Wade celebration began with a moment of silence for women who have died because they were unable access adequate maternal healthcare.
“Texas has been relegated to third-world status in regard to maternal morbidity and mortality rates,” said State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. “As a former registered nurse, none of this anti-abortion legislation makes any sense from a public health perspective… and as a woman, I can tell you that this just pisses me off.”
Davis also spoke at the Capitol. She and her supporters were wearing the pink “pussy-hats” inspired by a vulgar comment made by Trump in the now-infamous Access-Hollywood tape.
“In the coming days, weeks, months and years, wrap yourself in the pride of what it means to be a doer in the world, not just a complainer,” Davis said. “No matter what form that takes – whether it’s writing to your Congressperson, calling or sitting in their office, whether it’s protesting in the streets, speaking out at town halls, voting a few bastards out of office, or even running for office yourself – remember that no action, no matter, how big or small is without impact.”
Daniela Rojas, Latin-American studies junior and Jolt Texas youth organizer, spoke at the rally about how reproductive justice goes beyond just abortion laws. Senate Bill 4, the anti-sanctuary cities law, had a less obvious impact on the reproductive health of undocumented women, Rojas said.
“Undocumented women, who are already likely to be uninsured, were pushed further into the shadows out of fear of disclosing their legal status, discouraging them from accessing proper healthcare,” Rojas said.
Apparel design senior Melina Perez attended the rally at the Capitol and last year’s Women’s March. Perez said more work needs to be done to ensure “women’s rights” stands for all women, including women of color and trans women and not just the wealthy or privileged.
“It’s really important (to be civically engaged) because the more people who are seen and heard, then the more seriously we are going to be taken,” Perez said. “We have to use our voices for the people who can’t use theirs.