Hundreds march in Austin for equality

People of all ages, races and backgrounds joined together at the University of Texas to share a common message on January 30. 

“I am honored to be here with you uniting our voices to say, ‘Black lives matter,’” said Craig Paul John Brown who spoke for the Texas Organizing Project at the event.

The Million Man March Texas started by the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many who spoke echoed the voices of African American political activists of the past.

“I'm borrowing a line from Angela Davis. ‘I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I'm changing the things I cannot accept,’” Brown said. 

Protestors said even though Dr. King and Angela Davis are long gone, the racism they were fighting against is still evident in today's society.

“With some of the things we're facing now, it is unbelievable that we're having the same conversations from the 60's, 50's, 40's and so on,” said Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition.        

“It is my prayer as a father, I have an eight-year-old daughter a six-year-old son, that they will be able to live out what Martin Luther King wanted to see,” said Mike Lowe who works with SATX4 in San Antonio. 

Those at the event said that's exactly what the Black Lives Matter movement wants to change.

“When I say, we say, ‘Black lives matter’ we're not saying they matter more than any other life, but in this country we have a history by facts that black lives don't matter as much as white lives, so we're saying black lives matter too,”  Lowe said.

Some protestors said they have been on the receiving end of racism.

“I've been discriminated against. I've been mistreated. I've been made to feel less than human and so that's why this is so important to me,” said Margaret Haule with Black Lives Matter Austin. 

“Unfortunately, I've been arrested on a couple of occasions and I honestly believe that the aggression that I was met with and encountered was due to the color of my skin,” Lowe said.

People at the event said one of the main things they are tired of is police brutality against black people and until there are big changes in the justice system, these groups will keep holding protests to have their message heard.

"Silence is violence. When people do not organize, they are becoming mute and voiceless and our job is to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak up and speak out. That's when change happens, when we say, ‘No more. Enough is enough,’" Lowe said.

This is the second year the Million Man March Texas has been held in Austin.

Organizers of the event said they will be back again next year while the legislature is in session.

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