Dallas protestors will be part of the committee welcoming President Trump
When President Donald Trump visits Dallas on his October 25 fundraising trip, he'll be greeted by Gov. Greg Abbott, escorted by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — and welcomed by a round of protestors, including one that will greet him at the Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas, where his first donor meetup takes place.
The trip, which is his first as president, was originally scheduled for September 27, then canceled in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, until it got bumped to October 25. The schedule entails flying in to Dallas Love Field, a briefing on Hurricane Harvey, roundtable with high-roller donors, and a private reception.
The protest at Belo Mansion is at 3 pm. There's also a second, peaceful protest at 5 pm, taking place on the plaza in front of Dallas City Hall, that's co-hosted by a quartet of groups that include Indivisible DFW, Texas Resistance Coalition, and Texas Organizing Project.
Indivisible spokeswoman Soraya Colli says that their goal is to take a stance against racism.
"We're generally not a protest group, but we feel like there are communities that have been disenfranchised for decades by racism and gerrymandering, and we need to speak up for them," she says. "Trump has empowered white supremacists and racists. He has not outright defended them, but his renouncements against them after events like the protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, where a woman was killed, have been incredibly weak."
Colli says her group checked in with the Dallas Police Department, and is sensitive to the fact that they're already stretched thin.
"With Trump in town, you already have a stretched police presence, and we didn't want to add to the confusion or make protesting look worse," she says. "Particularly in Dallas, with what happened last summer when a protest ended up with the tragedy of police officers getting killed. That was not a protestor and he had nothing to do with that movement, but those kinds of things don't matter. People will see it as a protestor against the police.
"Luckily, we have a good relationship with the Dallas Police Department and they've been aware of our plans from the beginning," she says.
The Trump event originally was rumored to be at a private residence. "We wouldn't do that, because that can be incredibly disruptive to families and children, and that's not something we wanted to do," Colli says.
But as it happens, on the same night as Trump's visit, the Dallas City Council is holding a special October 25 meeting — open to the public — on Confederate monuments. It's at 6 pm, in the City Council chambers at City Hall. Nearly 60 people have signed up to speak.
Colli says that the Charlottesville protest helped galvanize the city's decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee in Lee Park in Dallas' Oak Lawn district in September, a labored removal that made national news.
"Mayor Rawlings and the city council got a backlash, even threats," Colli says. "We want to remind them they did the right thing and support their decision."
"Our city votes blue," she says. "We need to make a statement about Trump being here and reject the empowerment of white supremacy and bigotry and ignorance."