Many communities in the entire country, and around the world, have been left with a sense of uncertainty ever since Donald J. Trump won the presidential election in November. With his inauguration as the 45th president of the U.S. quickly approaching, entire cities are organizing to protest Trump’s insulting and threatening campaign messages towards multiple groups of people. Various organizations are bringing together the people in Austin and surrounding communities to stand together for immigrants’ rights, women’s rights, the environment and other causes of justice and safety.
On Monday, Jan. 9, Grassroots Leadership, ICE out of Austin, and the Austin Sanctuary Network will hold a press conference announcing their plans to actively build resistance through direct action and organizing. Austin immigrants, faith leaders, and advocates will publicize plans for deportation defense and sanctuary in the streets, as well as local and state policy. Speakers at the press conference will include ICE Out of Austin’s Carmen Zuvieta, Austin Sanctuary Network’s Rev. Babs Miller, Grassroots Leadership’s Cristina Parker and ACLU of Texas’ Matt Simpson. The public is invited to join in this effort at the Grassroots Leadership at 8:30 a.m. on 2301 E. Cesar Chavez St.
The Texas Together Campaign, a movement of all people living in Texas to promote inclusive communities that provide opportunity, dignity, and rights to all persons, is holding a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11 from 9 – 10:30 a.m. at the Lt. Governor’s Press Room in the State Capitol building. Texas Senator Jose Rodriguez is the press conference sponsor and there will be representatives speaking from North Texas, El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley and Austin.
“We’re sending a message of unity,” Workers Defense Project’s Legal Manager Ana Gonzalez said. “It’s not about one issue, it’s many different groups coming together.” Workers Defense Project is a membership-based organization that empowers low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing and strategic partnerships. It is also one of the organizations leading some of the anti-immigrant efforts in the city.
A nationwide mass mobilization to protect immigrants and refugees is also organizing on Saturday, Jan. 14. The group invites people of conscience across the country to stand together in what they call “an unbreakable line of defense” to protect immigrants and refugees against the incoming Trump regime’s plans for deportations, criminalization and hatred.
Just one week before Donald Trump’s inauguration, immigrants, families and allies will rally, march, and hold vigils and mass community gatherings to build momentum for sanctuaries of safety and deportation defense networks in cities, schools, churches and states.
Joining the #HereToStay movement are organizations such as United We Dream, Center for Community Change, Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Service Employees International Union, America’s Voice Education Fund, American Federation of Teachers, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood, Color of Change, National Domestic Workers Alliance and more.
The mobilization day is part of a growing wave of resilience and defiance against Trump’s promises to rip families apart, create a Muslim registry and enact policies like “stop and frisk” rooted in racial profiling and discrimination. Events are currently planned in cities in over 20 states across the country, including Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Further information is available at action.unitedwedream.org.
One Resistance, a coalition of Austin-area community groups that formed in mid-November to organize a protest against Donald Trump’s politics of fear, will also provide an opportunity for Austin residents to rally, protest, organize and support one another. Over the past six weeks, the initial group of 15 participating organizations has grown to 30. Some of these include Austin Central Labor Council, Austin Justice Coalition, Clean Water Action Texas, Communities of Color United, Education Austin, Educators in Solidarity, Equal Justice Center, Equality Texas, Fight for 15 Texas, Grassroots Leadership, JOLT Texas, The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Austin Beyond Coal, Texas AFL-CIO, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Freedom Network, and Workers Defense Project.
“There’s a really cool call right now where you have people from all kinds of movements and organizations coming together,” Workers Defense Project Communications Director Sam Robles comments. “Now there’s a real goal bringing people together for this One Resistance day.”
The One Resistance rally and protest event will take place on Friday, Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, beginning at 5 p.m. Resisters will gather at Auditorium Shores, 900 Riverside Dr., then march together up Congress Avenue to the south steps of the State Capitol building to a protest rally expected to begin around 6:30 p.m. The protest rally will include One Resistance speakers representing communities directly threatened by the Trump administration, and a “People’s Oath” ceremony. So far, more than 2,500 individuals have signed up to attend, according to the event’s Facebook page. The entire community is invited to the event, which is non-partisan and family friendly. More details can be found at oneresistance.com.
On Jan. 21, at least 30 cities nationwide are holding their own Women’s March rallies. The march emerged as a grassroots effort in the days after the presidential election but, after the Facebook event went viral, traditional political organizers and groups have become involved. Protests will also be held around the world in cities including Sydney, Zurich and Mexico City.
In Austin, the action will begin at noon at the State Capitol, where people will march in a symbolic joining of hands with all of the sister marches around the country and the world. The peaceful march aims to send a bold message to the new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.
The Women’s March supports advocacy and resistance movements that reflect America’s multiple and intersecting identities. This march is a step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. It invites us all to stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
The four co-chairs of the Women’s March are Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York; Tamika D. Mallory, political organizer and former executive director of the National Action Network; Carmen Perez, executive director of political action group The Gathering for Justice; and Bob Bland, a fashion designer who focuses on ethical manufacturing. Planned Parenthood has become an official partner of the march and will assist leaders in providing staff and large-scale event planning knowledge.
It is evident that, for many, the new administration feels like it’s fueled by hate and ready to attack basic human rights of individuals and marginalized communities. This is the time for all communities to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our society.
“It’s important to make sure that we’re honoring folks who don’t always have the privilege to go out and stand up for their rights,” Robles continued. “We need to have each others’ backs.”