For the fourth consecutive year, thousands of people marched through downtown Dallas on Sunday afternoon, calling for greater political and social power for women.
This year, the Women’s March highlighted the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and celebrated a century’s worth of progress in women’s rights.
For the fourth year in a row, Democratic state representatives Rhetta Bowers and Victoria Neave were the leading organizers. Since 2016, they’ve worked with local partners to bring together thousands of women, men and children as part of a national conversation about equity for women.
The event started Sunday afternoon at St. Paul United Methodist Church in the Arts District and made its way to Dallas City Hall, where a rally was held.
The Dallas event originated shortly after the 2016 presidential election. “I had just been elected in 2016, and I’d heard about all of the marches happening globally, including one in Austin,” Neave said. “But a lot of my constituents couldn’t travel. So we planned one locally. We had upwards of 10,000 people come that day in 2016.”
The 2020 event was a continuation of that first march in 2016. “We wanted to continue the momentum, but with a different theme,” said Neave, of Dallas.
"During the inaugural year of the Dallas Women’s March, women were standing in solidarity saying enough is enough," said Bowers, of Garland. "We were charged to go to the front line and fight for our voice to be heard, so much so that a record number of women in Texas ran for office.”
Every year, the Dallas Women’s March has had a different theme.
“The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment is the central theme this year, because we want to make sure individuals know the importance of what women fought for in order for us to be able to have the right to vote,” Neave said.
The amendment barred states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of their sex. The passing of that amendment had a profound impact on the country, which the Dallas Women’s March celebrated Sunday.
“It’s translated to historic numbers of women being elected all across the country and in Texas, where the number of women in the Texas House and Senate is increasing,” Neave said. “We’ve been fighting for issues that impact women and issues that have been ignored for a really long time in the legislative process.”
As access to abortion is being challenged across the country, highlighting the importance of these rights was a large component of the 2020 Women’s March.
“Planned Parenthood is one of our leading partners in the march and co-organizers,” Neave said.
Many participants carried signs underlining the consequence of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. “I think it’s very important to make sure our voices are heard and make sure everyone knows we aren’t going away,” Amanda Jones said. “I think everyone should have the right to choose. I am a woman who never wants to have children and so for me, especially, I want to make sure I can make that choice for the rest of my life.”
“A lot of people think the Women’s March is just about feminism, but it stands for so much more,” Aura Vasquez said. “We’re trying to bring awareness to different topics. For women’s rights, the right to choose. It’s being restricted more so now.”
Men also came out in support of this event. “Women need to be heard. I’m here to listen,” Brandon Ledezma said.
People of all ages attended the Dallas Women’s March to support abortion rights, along with equal rights for women and for all people.
“I marched for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982, and we’re finally, maybe, seeing something with that,” Patty Walnick said. “Women still need to have control over their bodies, though.”
The Women’s March isn’t only about rights for women. It celebrates the rights of all people.
“I think it’s important to continue to fight for equality for everyone,” Erica Salcido said. “Not just for women, but for the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, people who aren’t as privileged to have a voice as large as the others.
“And I think that it’s important to push to see the day when my 5-year-old, deaf, Mexican American daughter doesn’t have to look at any parts of her as a disability or disadvantage in life.”
“We want little girls and high schoolers to know that we can make a change and that we’re going to continue to fight for them,” Neave said. “We’re in this historic time, when we look at what women did back then. We appreciate and honor what they did for us to have a seat at the table.”
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