Fort Worth

Thousands march in Fort Worth and Dallas to promote women’s rights

Deborah Lawson is frustrated and worried.

She’s not sure what direction the country will take, under the new leadership of President Donald Trump.

Carrying a sign that stated “I will not go quietly back to the 1950s,” she took to the streets Saturday, along with thousands of other women in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, Washington, D.C. and other cities across the country.

“This was the only thing I could think to do to take a stand,” said Lawson, 61, as she marched in Fort Worth. “I have a lot of fear about what lies ahead for our country.

“There were more people in our country who voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump and we are concerned about the future of our country,” she said. “We aren’t going to stand by and let things happen.”

Police and organizers estimated between 5,000 and 9,000 people — men, women and children trying to promote women’s rights — participated in the Fort Worth march that started at the Tarrant County Courthouse and wove through downtown before returning marchers to the courthouse about an hour later.

As they walked, some chanted “love trumps hate,” “Fort Worth sisters” and “Yes we can.”

They wore a variety of clothes, some in pink, others in t-shirts promoting the march or sharing phrases such as “Nasty Woman.”

And they carried signs: “Women are the Wall,” “Strong Women,” “Keep your tiny hands off my body,” “We are not going away,” “America got grabbed,” “Tweet women with respect,” “My mother sent me” and “I can’t believe we still have to protest.”

There were a few protesters in the crowd.

One man carried a sign that stated, “Trump is your president, suck it up buttercup.”

And Walter Vaughn, a 40-year-old Watauga man, walked near the marchers, carrying a sign that read “Happy NoBama Day,” to marchers.

“I’m providing a counter balance,” he said. “We don’t have to deal with Obama any more.

“These people need to be educated,” he said. “As a country we are going to come together. We need to get past all this nonsense. The next four years will tell us what’s going to happen.”

As Vaughn walked away, a woman said loudly: “There’s got to be one in every crowd.”

Other marchers

Dynette France, a 57-year-old Fort Worth woman, carried a sign that stated “Now you’ve gone and pissed off Grandma!!” as she marched.

France, who said she can’t believe Trump is president, and is frustrated.

“I’m not going to sit the next four years out. It’s time to do something,” she said. “We’ve sat on our butts and did nothing for too long.”

Lisa Muttiah joined the march with her husband, three children and a group of friends.

“I want my kids to see you can make a difference. This is about equal rights for all,” said the 54-year-old Fort Worth woman who carried a sign that stated “Make America Think Again.” “We feel we’ve taken steps backward.”

And Clementine Jones, a 30-year-old woman originally from Scotland who now lives in Arlington, came bearing a sign that stated “My body, my choice.”

She said she’s worried about health care, particularly that access to birth control for herself and others, might become restricted with the change in the country’s leadership.

“I feel that Trump represents nothing I believe in,” Jones said. “I wish I could have voted. Given that I can’t, this is what I can do — march.”

Dallas protest

The turnout was strong in Dallas as well, where thousands of women, men and children marched through downtown, chanting “Women united will never be divided,” and “Women’s rights are human rights.”

Sisters Corinne Wilson and Lisa Riazi, of Plano, were among the marchers. Carrying signs that said, “If he builds a wall we will raise our kids to tear it down,’ they said they were inspired to march for their young daughters.

“Before I left this morning, I gave my 11-month-old daughter a kiss, and I told her I’m doing this for her,” Wilson said.

Saturday’s march gave them motivation to resist Trump’s agenda, the sisters said.

“I got chills walking up here and seeing all of the people,” Riazi said. “We’re not alone.”

For Yolanda Johnson, concern for civil and equal rights drew her to Saturday’s march in Dallas.

“I do not feel the current leader of the free world cares to represent me or people like me,” said Johnson, who is African-American. “We have a voice, and we need to use it.”

Nearby, Dina Light-McNeely marched with her neighbors from Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood. The mothers brought their daughters, who spelled out the word ‘United’ with signs.

“Now is the time for us to begin the work that will continue for the next four years,” Light-McNeely said. “Today is about hope, love and peace. The best way to combat the hatred is to love one another.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley