Politics & Government

Texans help to fill the streets during the Women’s March on Washington

Heather Alanis, center left, of Arlington, Texas, and Beth Christie, 41, of Fort Worth pose for a picture taken by a friend outside the Air and Space Museum during the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.
Heather Alanis, center left, of Arlington, Texas, and Beth Christie, 41, of Fort Worth pose for a picture taken by a friend outside the Air and Space Museum during the Women’s March on Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. McClatchy

As a fog-blanketed Washington Monument loomed in the distance Saturday morning, stretching seemingly endlessly into the sky, Leslie Lutz of Fort Worth, Texas, emerged from the Washington Metro.

It took her more than 20 minutes just to leave the platform.

I have “never seen this many people in a subway, and I was at the London Olympics,” Lutz said in a text message.

Lutz was in town for the Women’s March on Washington, a large gathering to promote women’s rights on the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The march was planned in concert with hundreds of “sister marches” around the world, including one in Fort Worth.

“I’m deeply offended by the things Donald Trump said during the campaign,” said Lutz, a 47-year-old freelance fiction editor. “We need to get boots on the ground and let him know we are here.”

It’s important to not live in a bubble. But it’s impossible to live in a bubble if you are left-leaning in Fort Worth.

Leslie Lutz of Fort Worth, Texas

Lutz chose to focus her participation on the issue that matters the most to her – the environment. She is concerned that a Republican-led White House will make it easier for states to harm their own residents through lax regulation.

But Lutz, along with her friends Heather Alanis, 45, of Arlington, Texas, and Beth Christie, 41, of Fort Worth, weren’t able to complete their march to the White House on Saturday.

Too many participants choked the streets of Washington, and plans for a formal march from the Capitol to the White House were called off around 2 p.m. because the line of marchers stretched nearly the entire route before the march could even begin.

A Washington, D.C. official says the estimated turnout for the Women's March in the city now stands at a half a million. It is about double the amount of people who showed up to President Donald Trump's inauguration.

Instead, Lutz, Alanis and Christie stood among a swarm of people and listened to celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and America Ferrera speak.

“President Trump, I did not vote for you,” Johansson said. “I ask that you support me, support my sister, support my mother, support my best friend and all of our girlfriends, support the men and women here today who are anxiously awaiting to see how your next moves may drastically affect their lives.”

As Lutz, Alanis and Christie listened to speakers, a slew of creative signs surrounded them, including an effigy of Trump surrounded by red birds representing his tweets and wearing pockets stuffed with money.

For Lutz, who sported a heart-shaped pin that said “kind” along with a black hoodie with the slogan “act against climate change” on the back, small changes would make a big difference.

Lutz voted for Republican Rep. Kay Granger in November because she valued the longtime lawmaker’s experience compared with her unknown Democratic opponent. But when she reached out to Granger’s office to ask whether an environmental issues page could be added to her website, she got “radio silence.”

“The Trinity River (Vision) Project includes a lot of environmental cleanup,” Lutz said. “It would be a small step to include some of that as part of her website.”

For Alanis and Christie, who co-own KidsPark, a daycare center in Arlington, the march served as a vehicle to promote gun control. Both signed up to march with Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group, and handed out stickers to fellow marchers as they donned bright red hats that stood out in the crowd full of pink “pussy hats.”

“We want common-sense gun laws,” Alanis said. “We are pro responsible gun ownership and safe storage. We don’t want to take away people’s guns.”

The trio of Tarrant County marchers are aware they hail from the largest urban county in the country that went for Trump, and say they know firsthand the challenges of living under leadership with which they do not agree.

“It’s important to not live in a bubble,” Lutz said. “But it’s impossible to live in a bubble if you are left-leaning in Fort Worth.”

Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty

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