HOUSTON - More than 20,000 people marched through the streets of Houston to rally for women’s rights. The 2018 Houston Women’s March started on Sabine near Buffalo Bayou. Thousands marched in unison to City Hall.
“The focus of this year’s march is getting folks excited and engaged in the 2018 elections,” said co-organizer Robin Paoli. “We’ve got four ‘C’ words that we’re using: ‘Cause,’ ‘Candidates,’ ‘Communcate,’ and ‘Cast your ballot.’
"We’ve got causes here. We’ve got candidates here. We’re asking people to communicate what their values are and we’re asking them to vote in the March primaries and then vote in the general election. We’d like to see more women, more women of color and more people of color elected to office.”
“Love not hate -- makes America great!” -- were just some of the chants on the half mile march to City Hall.
“We have a daughter, and I think we owe it to her to make a better world so that she can have all of the opportunities and everything she needs to have a great life -- for her children and for women everywhere,” said participant Kelly Cooper.
Her daughter, Evelyn, rested on the shoulders of her father. This was the Coopers' first march and it won’t be the last.
“We’re making it a tradition,” Cooper said. “We’ll be there every year.”
Many people held signs promoting various causes.
“We have an enormous variety of people coming together for a single cause that means very different things to very different people,” said Heights resident Lara Purser.
Many participants shared causes and swapped stories of why they attended the march.
“A lot of us don’t feel supported, whether it’s our lifestyle, our backgrounds and this is just a safe place for all of us,” said River Oaks resident Stephanie Hansen.
“The injustice towards women, immigrants, the racism, has just gotten out of hand. It’s become a frightening thing to deal with,” said Katy resident Julie Barr. “Women need protection; immigrants need DACA and black Americans need equality."
“I think it matters that women have a say in their health. I think that men sit in offices, and they don’t think about what women would like for their bodies and their health,” said participant Deidre Taylor.
“Gun violence is a women’s issue. For example, every month, 50 American women are shot and killed by their current or former intimate partners,” said participant Alexandra Chasse.
At the steps of city hall, several local leaders took a stand.
“When it comes to marrying whomever you want -- that’s important!” shouted Mayor Sylvester Turner to a crowd of cheering participants. “When it comes to DACA -- immigrants -- they belong right here in this city and this country that’s important!”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo talked about his values.
“Values of diversity, of being a welcoming city, of being a caring city and standing up for people … I am an immigrant! I am a refugee! And guess what? -- it is personal!” Acevedo shouted to the crowd.
“The future is now, and it’s here, and the leaders that are going to take us into a brighter and fairer future are all here and hopefully inspiring thousands more,” said co-organizer Manju Bangalore.
Organizers hoped all who came will register and show up for the March primaries and November elections.
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