Freshman state Rep. Victoria Neave, a Democrat of Dallas, wanted her city included in a national conversation. And so she organized a local branch of the D.C. Women’s March, a protest that’s expected to draw thousands to the nation’s capitol the day after President-elect Donald J. Trump drops the “elect” from his title.
Neave, who represents portions of East Dallas and Mesquite in House District 107, hopes to bring that same energy to the steps of City Hall. Marchers will leave from 1500 Marilla St. at 10 a.m. and march through downtown and into East Dallas, ending at the CWA Hall at Bryan Street and Washington Avenue.
“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.”
Neave’s main concern is showing women that she has their best interests in mind. In preparation for the march, Neave and her office have been joined by various organizations such as Texas Young Democrats, Moms Demand Action, and Planned Parenthood. And after the march, they’ll take to the phones. Part of Neave’s motivation, as you’ll read below, is to keep women involved in the political process.
“It really just has snowballed,” she says. “And we’re really excited about that.”
With the march two days away, Neave discussed that power in numbers, her focus this legislative session, and being an advocate for women. It’s been edited for length and clarity.
With marches going on in Washington D.C. and Austin, why was it important for Dallas to have one of its own?
We wanted to show solidarity from Dallas with the D.C. and Austin marches and show that there are important policy issues that aren’t being addressed, so we’re going to join the movement and stand up for women. It’s about women. It’s about equality for women and all communities. We wanted to make sure Dallas was also represented.
What do you hope the city will gain from this march?
Not all women could afford to go to Austin or D.C., so we wanted to have something locally. I thought about going to Austin, especially since we just got to work down there, but I wanted to provide an opportunity for our constituents here locally to also have the opportunity to express solidarity. We want to let women here know that we have their backs because often we hear attacks, we heard attacks especially during the election. I want them to know that we’re going to push for policies that help women at the state and local level.
Speaking of policies, what specific actions do you want to be most involved in during your time in the legislature?
One of the big things that’s really, really important in my view is our public education system. A few years back, our legislature stripped more than $5.4 billion from our public school system. It’s important to make sure we fully restore the funding, so every kid has a full shot at moving their family forward. I grew up in the Barrio in Dallas, and I’m an attorney now. Education was key to helping my family get out of a low-income neighborhood.
The other thing is equal pay for equal work for women. The fact that we don’t have that in Texas makes me mad. It’s really unacceptable. In Texas, more than half of the population is female. The whole family will benefit when women are paid the same for the same work a man does.
What do you hope participants will take away from the Dallas Women’s March?
I hope people will feel a sense of unity, a sense of translating their energy into action. That’s why we’re having the phone bank component after the rally. We’ll call women voters in North Texas to tell them we have their backs, but also to listen and ask them what issues are important to them in this upcoming legislative session. We want to keep people engaged in the political process and make sure that women’s voices are heard.