Austin joins in global protests

The inauguration of Donald Trump and his following executive orders have caused unease among people across the nation. Concerned citizens in Austin, and all over the country, have taken to the streets to protest a variety of causes that have been debated for years before Trump took office. For some though, Trump’s rise to the oval office sparked a call to arms, to defend their political perspective and practice their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Hilltop Views attended protests that Democrats and Republicans participated in, including the Women’s March, the Texas Rally for Life and a protest at the airport.

Texas Rally for Life

Amidst a crowd of thousands at the Texas Capitol proudly touting colorful and creative signs with slogans like “my generation will end abortion” and “defund planned parenthood” is a minimalist black and white poster that says, “I regret my abortion.”

The owner of the sign is Cindi Serna, a woman who has experienced nearly the full spectrum of reproductive possibilities. In total, Serna has had three children, a miscarriage and two abortion procedures.

Following Serna’s second abortion, she joined Silent No More, a “campaign whereby Christians make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to men and women,” according to their website. Serna is just one of the thousands of people who gathered Jan. 28 at the Texas Rally for Life, to voice their opposition to the termination of a pregnancy.

A few abortion rights supporters also made their voice heard, attending the rally with posters and chants that countered the perspective of anti-abortion attendees.

Hosted by the Texas Alliance for Life, the event began at noon when men, women and children alike gathered at 18th Street and North Congress Ave., and then went on to a march in front of the Capitol.

Many religious groups, mostly Christian, were in attendance such as St. Theresa. College students were also present, with a Catholic group from Texas A&M University in attendance as well as a number of students from St. Edward’s University.

The event was held the weekend following a women’s march, which attracted many who believe that supporting abortion rights is an aspect of feminism and is key to a feminist ideology. Senior Amy Ontai said that the march is actually “quite intersectional.”

“I believe in life, but I respect other opinions,” Sophomore K.C. Hurley said at the event.

An annual event, this year’s rally follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn House Bill two, which called upon abortion facilities in Texas to have standards similar to those of hospitals.

Airport protest

Falling in step with citizens across the U.S. in cities like Los Angeles, New York and other Texas cities, hundreds of Austinites convened at the Austin- Bergstrom International Airport in protest of President Trump’s executive orders that restrict immigration.

Trump’s executive order, commonly referred to as the Muslim ban, was signed Jan. 27, and prevents entry of people from the Muslim-majority nations of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also affects dual citizens.

Protesters flashed signs featuring phrases like “refugees face more vetting than his cabinet,” referring to missing ethics paperwork from Trump’s cabinet picks and “no ban, no wall,” referring to another of Trump’s executive orders earlier in the week that would seek to implement a wall along the southern border.

Delia Garza and Greg Casar of Austin City Council spoke out against Trump in the midst of protesters. Casar announced that the Austin City Council would be making an emergency budget change “to fund legal defense and deportation defense.”

Many protesters also spoke, and while some were there to express their disagreement with Trump’s order, others expressed concern of being being directly affected, with one woman saying she does not know what will happen when her husband arrives in Austin later this week.

The organizer Shane Terenzi allotted space at the airport for three hours of protest. Up until 5 p.m., attendees yelled chants such as “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” and “show me what democracy looks like — this is what democracy looks like.”

A sentiment of continuing to speak out against Trump was present, with protesters pointing out that there may be a need for four more years of protests, as well as mention of attending Texas Muslim Capitol day, which took place Tuesday.

Besides chanting, protesters pledged allegiance to the flag, sang a rendition of “this land is your land” and “my shot” from the hit Broadway show Hamilton.

Women’s March

Austin police estimated that as many as 50,000 protesters attended the Women’s March that took place centered at the Capitol Jan. 21. The march, protesting perceived threats to women’s reproductive rights and health care, was organized for the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The march began on the Capitol grounds before circulating throughout downtown and then returning to listen to guest speakers, including former member of the Texas Senate, Wendy Davis, a proponent for increased reproductive services.

The Women’s March in Austin was one of dozens of similar marches that took place in solidarity with the march in Washington D.C., protesting any potential executive order or law Trump may be aiming to change, such as defunding Planned Parenthood.

The marches, which attracted millions of people from around the world in support of women’s rights, followed the election of Trump, who continues to be haunted by criticism of misogyny.