AUSTIN, Texas - On Saturday, community members and various activist groups gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to "hold Texas lawmakers accountable for waging war on the civil liberties of Texans."
"Republicans are now passing laws to suppress our vote and prevent teaching of black history in our schools and the truth about racism," said Dr. Candace Matthews, accountability chair of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.
Groups represented included the Austin Justice Coalition, Austin Area Urban League, Just Liberty, Next Generation Action Network, Push Democracy Forward, and Texas Fair Defense Project.
The rally was sparked in part by the recent passage of SB 1 and SB 8 - controversial voting legislation and abortion legislation.
"Everything else is being stripped away from us, from abortion rights to redistricting and our representation, to voting rights, to our ability to be able to speak for ourselves," said Shevann Steuben, president of the Texas NAACP Youth & College Division.
Speakers called on attendees to speak out against lawmakers, and attendees had the opportunity at Saturday's rally to register to vote.
"The intersectionality of all these issues - voter suppression, anti-abortion laws, the war on women, the war on black women, the war on trans lives - we are here for all these reasons," said Norma Jean, who attended the rally.
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas over SB 8 - which bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected.