One Resistance: Thousands Stand Up Against Trump
by Glenn Scott, LUTU member
On Donald Trump’s inauguration day January 20, thousands of Austinites protested in the streets. Organizing the march and rally was a coalition of more than 40 community and labor organizations under the banner One Resistance. The march idea was initiated by city council member Greg Casar in conversation with a handful of community social justice activists the day after Trump’s victory at the polls November 8.
In the wake of the election, Casar reached out to several community leaders, including Sukyi McMahon, director of operations for the Austin Justice Coalition, a grassroots organization focused on local criminal justice reform; and Kandace Vallejo, founding director of Youth Rise Texas, which works with young people whose parents have been incarcerated or deported.
Of the first One Resistance meeting on November 9, McMahon said, ”There was a lot of venting, but then we picked ourselves up and started to work on carrying on the fight.” The meetings quickly grew in size, she said, and the December 1 planning meeting included representatives from 40 organizations.
McMahon credited Councilmember Casar for bringing together a broad range of activists who were working in marginalized communities. “He used his position to bring all these groups together,” she said.
Recalling the early stages of planning, Vallejo said, “We wanted to plan a public action that was family friendly and where people who felt under attack could feel safe.”
Vallejo said that the early group made it a priority to build a broad coalition. They reached out to the local labor movement and groups working on immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Muslim rights, environmental justice, and other civil and political issues.
McMahon said she was pleased with the planning committee’s process. “The preparation was robust and thoughtful. We developed our list of demands for marginalized people in a very collaborative way.”
Vallejo said she was proud of what the One Resistance march and rally, which drew over 5,000 participants, accomplished on January 20. They achieved the coalition’s goal, Vallejo said, to “reach out to those who were the most vulnerable to Trump’s agenda and to help them feel safe and to feel support from the Austin community.”
Vallejo said she was proud that young people participated in the march, including many who worked with Youth Rise Texas. Students from five high schools and charter schools walked out of school to protest Trump’s racist attacks on people of color, undocumented immigrants, and Muslims. Students were at the front of the march, which media outlets and the police estimated included more than five thousand people.
McMahon echoed Vallejo’s feeling that the One Resistance event was successful. “We were able to bring together groups that work in many different areas of social justice but had not had the chance to work together on one project,” she said, adding that she was proud of the diversity of the participants in the march. Many people brought their children to the march, which to McMahon meant that the organizers had achieved the goal of holding a family-friendly public demonstration of the values of respect for all, in contrast to the hate and fear being promoted by the new Trump administration.
“We worked hard to make sure that we would have a large, peaceful act of resistance. And I believe we achieved that.”
McMahon and Vallejo agreed that the march’s planners will continue to meet and plan together. “The strong relationships that were built among the many groups that planned One Resistance will sustain us in our work ahead,” Vallejo said.
Earlier on Friday, more than 160 high school students had walked out of classrooms to join marchers protesting the inauguration. Hundreds of UT students participated in rallies and protests at UT and then joined the One Resistance march on Auditorium Shores.
From the beginning, march planners wanted communities and people who are most under threat by Trump’s administration to lead the protest and participate in the planning. Representatives from immigrant rights groups such as Grassroots Leadership, Youth Rising, JOLT, and Workers Defense Project played active roles in planning the events.
Civil rights and criminal justice groups such as the Austin Justice Coalition, Communities of Color United for Racial Justice, Austin Environmental Justice Coalition, and Texas Civil Rights Project, among others, participated in planning the event. Labor organizations were early supporters of One Resistance, and the Austin Central Labor Council, Fight for 15 Texas, and Workers Defense Action Fund all played important roles. Feminist organizations such as the Lilith Fund, the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes participated in weekly planning meetings.
Left Up To US actively promoted the march and rally, along with other social justice groups including Austin Democratic Socialists of America, Austin Jewish Voices for Peace, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee ofAustin, and Austin Socialist Collective.