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Austin Afghan community calls for family evacuation at the Texas Capitol

Austin's Afghan Community met in front of the Texas Capitol with signs and speeches to share. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Chanting "we want our family here now" and holding signs that read "#SaveAfghanWomen" or "#SanctionPakistan," dozens of Afghan Austinites gathered in front of the Texas Capitol to make a plea to save their families and raise local awareness for the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

Men, women and children waving Afghanistan flags met in front of the Capitol on W. 11th Street and Congress Ave. Tuesday at 4:45 p.m.

Many of the protesters served alongside the U.S. Military, often as translators, including protest attendee Maverick, who declined to give his real name for the safety of his relatives.

Maverick, the name that was written on his uniform, said he hasn't been able to speak to any of his eight immediate family members stuck in Kabul for four days as the government-run phone services are collapsing.

"I've been getting gray hairs, I'm getting eyebags. I've never had this much stress on me before," Maverick said. "My immediate family is at great risk—they're stranded there."

Maverick is a U.S. citizen and can file visa petitions for his family but since they are on a first-come-first-serve basis, the process can take years to complete. Even if he filed on behalf of his family, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan is shut down, so they couldn't complete the process.

After serving with the army for four years, Maverick said his family will be put in danger due to his service. He thinks Afghan families of servicemen need to be evacuated. Others at the protest reflected his thoughts, carrying signs that read "We helped you! You help us! Save our families!"

"God forbid if there's anything that bad happened here in America, I will be the first one to go help because we received help and we're really grateful for the help that the U.S. provided," Maverick said. "I was hoping that maybe they would get evacuated. If it was peaceable, if it was safe, I would go through every step (but) there's like zero hope right now."

The group also hoped to clear up any fears from the public—Maverick said he's heard people say they're worried about sleeper cells for the Taliban coming in as evacuations continue.

"The U.S. government can vet them however they want—as long as they get to safety, vetting is not a problem," Maverick said. "We helped the troops, we saved their lives and now we want something in return, which is just to save our family."

Before the end of September, 574 Afghan refugees will be resettled in Texas, of which Austin will receive 185. The number could increase, as President Joe Biden told CBS News last week that more than 50,000 Afghan allies were still in need of evacuation.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway