Thousands marched through Dallas on Jan. 21 in solidarity for women's rights. (Credit: Alex Macon / D Magazine)

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Dallas Women’s March Attracts Thousands in Show of Solidarity

For scale: It was possible to stand at an intersection for half an hour and not see the entire crowd go by.

You’d have thought it was State Fair season—the DART trains on Saturday departing from Mockingbird Station grew sardine-packed with people as they zoomed closer to City Hall. At 10 a.m., thousands met at 1500 Marilla to walk in solidarity with 2.5 million others across the country in honor of women’s rights in the age of President Donald J. Trump.

It’s not clear how many attended the Dallas rally, but, for scale, it was possible to stand at an intersection for half an hour and not see the end of the line of people. The march attracted men, women, and children, who grouped together and trotted 1.7 miles from City Hall into East Dallas, coming to a stop outside the Communications Workers of America building at the intersection of Bryan Street and Washington Avenue. The crowd grew so large that it was virtually impossible to hear the un-amplified speech from the organizer, freshman state Rep. Victoria Neave, a Democrat of Dallas.

Neave, like fellow organizers in Austin and Fort Worth and Denton, sought to align Dallas with the national Women’s March in Washington D.C., which attracted more than 500,000 Americans to the nation’s capital about 24 hours after Trump’s inauguration. Their message was clear: Women’s rights matter, and they won’t be forgotten.

“I think some folks were disappointed in the political process,” says Neave. “We don’t want anyone to be discouraged. There is power in numbers, and that’s what we’re going to show. Not everyone may agree with that we have to say, but we’re trying to keep this positive.”

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., the mass of people began moving east along Young Street, eventually catching Jackson and snaking toward Deep Ellum. They crossed under I-345, marching along Canton and onto Main and, finally, Washington. They chanted: “Love trumps hate” and “My body my choice” and “this is what democracy looks like.” They even called out to Trump: “We don’t want your tiny hands anywhere near our underpants!” A teenage girl held up a pink sign that read “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE.” A girl younger than 10 walked alongside her, hoisting her own sign: “MAKE AMERICA L<3VE.” Some mothers and fathers walked with babies in their arms. There was an oversized piñata of Trump’s head, the words “Stop!” and “Tweeting” Sharpied in on his cheek and upper lip.

At a glance, the crowd, made up of mostly women, some of whom had on knitted ‘pussyhats,’ appeared to be mostly white. Yet, once mingled among the masses, it was more than apparent that it had attracted people from all walks of life who were there to have their beliefs join a larger, unified whole. The march came less than a day after references to the LGBTQ community were scrubbed from whitehouse.gov, which the administration has said is necessary because they’re being digitally archived. And as the Dallas march carried on, references to maintaining those protections had not returned. Needless to say, shirts and signs supporting gay rights were everywhere you could see.

“I’m a feminist, have been since college,” said Crystal Obaseki, a young woman from Denton. “I really just wanted to be a part of this movement and peaceful protest that people have against a certain individual. And I’m really just walking for human rights. You know, civil rights. reproductive rights. So that’s why I’m here to today and wanted to be a part of this.”

The rights of women, women’s healthcare, and the protection of it, were the foremost issues of the march. Messages in support of it appeared on various signs and on t-shirts and echoed through the chants.

“I believe strongly that our country needs to stand up to this bullying,” said Dallas resident Robin Padayachee, 38. “And I’m here to represent the importance of women’s health, choice in reproductive healthcare, stand up for my two boys that I’m raising to be feminists and to protect healthcare for all.”

The diverse group included elderly marchers, like 75-year-old Eve Nemec, who drove in from Rowlett: “[I’m here] just in solidarity with everyone who seems disenfranchised, they feel disenfranchised. I’m not a Latino. I’m not LGBT. I’m just an elderly white Christian woman that feels for everybody else.”

After the rally ended, Neave opened up a phone bank for volunteers to call Texans to discuss their legislative hopes. The event, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood, Texas Young Democrats, the Workers Defense Project, and Moms Demand Action, was a peaceful showing. The only two protesters were two young men who walked against the flow of the march along a nearby sidewalk, wearing red Make America Great Again hats.

“I see a lot of LGBT signs. And I don’t understand where that narrative is coming from because Trump is easily the most, like, progressive Republican candidate on LGBT issues that we’ve ever had,” said one of the men, 24-year-old Mark Toffler. “In fact, you look historically, he’s been on the side of LGBT since before Obama, since before Hillary. So, I don’t know. My open thoughts are just that this is a reflexive response, not a terrible amount of thought goes into their opposition and you can see that in the lack of nuance that goes into it.”

Toffler and his friend didn’t find much support in the messaging that came from the thousands of men, women, and children who they walked against. These thousands of Texans marched on the sunrise of a president who has flippantly discussed sexually assaulting women and pinned a name on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, that her supporters have now co-opted as their own: Nasty Woman. The thousands in Dallas, just as the half a million in Washington D.C. and the 2 million others scattered across the 673 other participating cities, displayed a unified, defiant message of their own to the country’s new leader: That the civil rights advances made under President Barack Obama won’t be taken away without a fight, that women will be heard and respected.

“I hope [this creates] a greater awareness of how we need to elevate the conversation in this country,” Padayachee said. “We need to protect those rights that many of us have taken for granted during the last administration.”

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Comments

  • unsavedheathen

    I saw Mr. Pisher, er… Toffler as he and four friends(clones), all dressed similarly in what they wore to work on Friday were lounging on some concrete planters along the route, lobbing clever comments like, “We won” and “You lost” at the marchers, bravely staring down the grandmothers and 15-year-old girls as they passed.

    12,000 people showed up to march in Dallas. Can we, just this once, focus on their message rather than the knuckle draggers they were protesting

  • DubiousBrother

    AWW – Angry White Women

    • T_S_

      It’s one step away from Lysistrata, so tread lightly sir.

      • DubiousBrother

        I’m confused as the the war they are warring against.
        Are they for or against the groupies that hang around celebrities that were the subject of Trump’s joking pu$$y remark which they seem to have taken literally? Yoko Ono, who was in attendance, was one such groupie who used the lure of her pu$$y to break up one of the greatest bands of all time.
        If we are to take all statements literally, is Madonna headed to prison for threatening the President of the United States and are they for or against all such suggested acts of violence?
        As far as Lysistrata is concerned, I’m safe from such denial.

        • Mavdog

          Let’s just say your remark “I’m confused” is an understatement.

        • JamieT

          All of this mass, paranoid herding behavior – Donald Trump wants to grab MY pussy! He does, doesn’t he? Yes, he does! But I won’t let him! – is the reason our term “hysteria” still derives from the Greek “hysterikós”, “disturbances in the uterus”. It’s simply impossible to imagine an equivalent men’s march, all sporting “schlonghats”.

          Nonetheless, a few yarn manufacturers are very happy today, while the women have returned to the lives they were living before Saturday, albeit perhaps with some profound new inspirations:

          “Hey, what do you think about this idea? Holding a march like we just did BEFORE the election, before people make up their minds and vote!”

          “Yeah! And, um, maybe a little less identifying ourselves as nothing more than our genitals?”

          http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-scenes-from-a-pussy-riot/article/2612595

          • Jen Sullivan

            You think we weren’t politically active BEFORE the election? That we didn’t vote? Funny how the number of people who marched is pretty close to the number of votes by which Trump lost the popular election. Glad you were riled up by the Women’s March, because that was just what we were hoping for. 🙂 Enjoy the resistance!

    • Mavdog

      Ignoring the diversity in the people assembled and referring to the group as “Angry White Women” is an alternative fact…

      • DubiousBrother

        Since I was not in attendance my opinion is formed by the pictures that have been posted by the media.

        I’m thinking the diversity mentioned in your comment does not apply to the Angry White Men that has been used consistently for all that opposed Obama for the last 8 years and that are credited with the Trump election.

        • Mavdog

          There have been many, many photos of marches held in various locales and they show a diverse group of people joining in the affair. Can’t explain why you did’t see them…

          The label “Angry White Men” predates Obama by almost 2 decades, although you have a habit (which you really must now abandon BTW) of blaming everything on Obama that isn’t the case with this moniker.

          Did “Angry White Men” elect Trump? Can’t say, but the ACS for areas that voted overwhelmingly for Trump says they are undereducated white voters. Education level was a clear demarcation for who the voter cast their ballot. Even with their lower education attainment it will not take very long for them to come to the realization they have been fooled.

          • DubiousBrother

            Ah yes, the under-educated card but only for white people since to say that about Blacks or Hispanics would be racist. Only uneducated stupid people would not see the benefit of having Hillary as POTUS. I wonder how the under-employed voted.
            As for me, I think I will go back to school to get my Masters in Urban Studies and maybe a Ph.D. in Gender Studies so I too can be enlightened.

          • Mavdog

            If you have a problem with the data, it is not the fault of the data.

          • DubiousBrother

            Actually I don’t have any problem with the data – Obama increased the national debt by $9.3 trillion and Trump won the election. There seems to be a lot of women that can’t seem to handle it though.

          • Mavdog

            So you are abandoning the issue of the education attainment and pivoting to the national debt? interesting deflection.

            If the debt were the issue, why did voters return to office those legislators who voted to increase the debt? You know, Obama didn’t vote to pass those spending bills…

            Second, if debt were the issue determining a voter’s choice, the Trump tax plan is forecast to increase the national debt by about the same amount you cite from Obama’s terms. Apparently the national debt wasn’t a consideration of Trump supporters.

          • Jen Sullivan

            It’s also “DubiousBrother” who seems to be terrifically riled up by the Women’s March! I guess it worked. 🙂

          • GlennHunter

            It’s you who seem to have a problem with the data, Mavdog. Blue collar voters did help Trump win the Rust Belt. But even the New Republic pointed out that across-the-board typical Trump voters were not poorly educated. In fact, wrote the magazine’s Eric Sasson: “The voters Clinton really lost—the ones she was targeting and relying on for victory—were college-educated whites. Most polling suggested she would win these voters, but she didn’t, according to exit polls: White men went 63 percent for Trump versus 31 percent for Clinton, and white women went 53-43 percent. Among college-educated whites, only 39 percent of men and 51 percent of women voted for Clinton.”

          • Mavdog

            The data is clear. My point is valid. Your numbers point to a gender disparity in addition to the education differential I pointed out.
            .
            “College graduates backed Clinton by a 9-point margin (52%-43%), while those without a college degree backed Trump 52%-44%. This is by far the widest gap in support among college graduates and non-college graduates in exit polls dating back to 1980.”
            “Trump’s margin among whites without a college degree is the largest among any candidate in exit polls since 1980. Two-thirds (67%) of non-college whites backed Trump, compared with just 28% who supported Clinton, resulting in a 39-point advantage for Trump among this group.”
            http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/

            While Trump also realized a 4% greater number of white, college educated voters then Clinton, Trump did not get a majority of the votes cast by this segment of the electorate.

  • Daesai Sereiphiel

    Heroes! Every last one of them.

  • Jen Sullivan

    A pro-life group and actually a group of nuns joined the March in Austin. So, there ya go.