Austinites travel to Washington for Women’s March


Two Austin women among those to attend the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.

Austin will be among the cities where a similar march will take place the day after Inauguration Day.

Texas State University senior Mariah Simank never considered herself much of an activist. But after the contentious election season wrapped up in November, Simank, 22, said she felt hopeless and anxious for the future.

Then she received a text from her aunt encouraging Simank to join her at the Women’s March on Washington the day after Inauguration Day. This was her chance, she said, to be proactive and demand that all politicians “act in the interest of (women’s) safety and health.” Austinites Simank and her aunt Holly Bullington will join more than 100,000 people expected at the march.

“For me, this isn’t about being anti-Trump,” she said. “I want him to succeed so badly. For me, it’s about supporting equality for women and women’s rights. And this march is a way to come together peacefully.”

Simank said that, when her aunt suggested the idea of attending, she thought there was no way she could afford the trip. But Bullington used her airline miles to ensure that Simank, who is studying public relations and political science, experienced the national march.

Soon, other family members got motivated to attend as well. Simank now has a group of about eight relatives, ranging from ages 18 to 72, meeting in Washington for the march that, according to its website, aims to send a bold message to the new administration on its first day, as well as to the world, that “women’s rights are human rights.”

The Women’s March on Washington has inspired other sister marches across the country and abroad, including in Texas cities such as Austin and Brownsville. About 20,000 people are expected at the Women’s March on ATX, according to lead organizer Melissa Fiero. Buses from cities across the state will be bringing people to join the march at noon Jan. 21 at the south grounds of the Capitol.

Fiero said the local march shares the same vision as the national march. “We feel it’s important to allow the voice of people in different areas to be heard, even if they can’t make it to Washington,” she said. “We want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with communities who are at risk of having their rights trampled on.”

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