On the first Saturday of spring break, I drove to Arlington and boarded a bus bound for Austin. The reason? The Save Texas Schools rally at the state capitol.
I signed up for the bus trip through one of the state teacher groups, not knowing who else would be on my bus. Luckily for me, one of my friends from school was assigned to the same group!
As soon as our bus unloaded in Austin, we found ourselves afloat in a sea of signs:
As we got ready to march, we took in all the creative signs, many urging use of the "Rainy Day Fund."
While waiting for the march to start, we were greeted by Arlington State Rep. Diane Patrick. She's one of a handful of legislators to attend the rally.
We first started marching north on Trinity. It was incredible to be part of this mob making its way up the street. Then we crested a hill and realized...
...that there was ANOTHER mob heading south on Trinity to join us! Incredible turn-out! (Later, when we arrived at the Capitol, volunteers put sticky dots on all of us protesters so they could count us. They ran out of dots after giving out 11,000! After counting "dot-less" people by hand, organizers estimated the crowd to be 12,000+ strong.)
Finally we made the turn and started heading south toward the Capitol.
Some of the signs were heartbreaking. Many represented teachers who will be out of work this fall. Others were held by parents who were fighting to keep their neighborhood schools open.
At one point we took a little potty break to go inside the Capitol. And you know, if I'm in there, you can bet I'll get a shot of the rotunda!
We stood behind the speakers' platform for most of the rally. One of the highlights was provided by Dalton Sherman, a 7th grader from Dallas who seems to have a better handle on public education than our governor.
Here's video someone else shot that day:
As the rally came to a close, it was time for us to return to our bus for a box lunch and the ride home.
We were hot and tired, but we would do it all over again to show our support for Texas schools and our anger over the mismanagement that has led to this financial crisis.