Inauguration Day is upon us and Austinites—famous or otherwise—are celebrating the peaceful transfer of power between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, as well as the end to a chaotic and controversial election season.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in Wednesday morning surrounded by a bevy of high-profile former presidents and celebrities—Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks.
Austinites took to social media in unison with the inauguration, wishing the new administration luck.
CEO of Dell Technologies Michael Dell has been relatively quiet when it comes to politics but still congratulated the new president and called on America to come together again.
Congratulations to @POTUS Biden and @VP Harris. We are eager to work together on urgent issues by supporting pandem… https://t.co/WA0XDzbeJe— Michael Dell (@Michael Dell)1611164142.0
Austin-born musician Ciara took to Twitter to congratulate the new administration on a fresh, new start.
Happy Inauguration Day! How exciting! An opportunity for a fresh start. New beginnings! A new hope! @POTUS @VP #America 🇺🇸— Ciara (@Ciara)1611165100.0
Austin-based musician Jackie Venson celebrated last night, sharing a picture of Harris and Biden looking over the Washington Monument with their spouses, eager for Inauguration Day.
So close now! https://t.co/5NAqwb2Xs6— Jackie Venson (@Jackie Venson)1611109009.0
Even Mayor Steve Adler joined in on the celebration, sharing a photo of himself and Biden shaking hands. Adler has previously been rumored to be a candidate for Biden's presidential cabinet. He has since said his focus is on Austin.
Congratulations President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris! (…and how great that sounds.) Lead us togethe… https://t.co/91K1XHCYtU— Mayor Adler | 😷wear a mask. (@Mayor Adler | 😷wear a mask.)1611163097.0
Even some unexpected Texas Republicans, like Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Junior Senator Ted Cruz joined in congratulating Biden and honoring the peaceful transfer of power into the White House.
https://t.co/GewprJsp2f— George P. Bush (@George P. Bush)1611161815.0
Biden plans to begin work as the president today. Reports show that Biden will sign 17 executive orders in his first day in the Oval Office, including COVID-19 relief, student debt postponement and rejoining the World Health Organization.
Now the real work begins, folks. Follow along at @POTUS as we build back better. https://t.co/fHViqSqwp2— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1611165322.0
As Texas gets ready to lift the mandatory mask mandate on March 10, food and bar workers gathered at the Texas Capitol to express their frustration with the lack of COVID-19 precautions without adequate access to the COVID-19 vaccine.The event, which began at 1 p.m. on Monday, was hosted by the Austin chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Restaurant Organizing Project and The Amplified Sound Coalition.
Christa McWhirter<p>Crystal Maher, a member of the Restaurant Organizing Project, stands in front of the Texas Capitol to express to other protesters in attendance how not being eligible for a vaccine has impacted her ability to safely keep her job. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Kiara Collins, Eric Santos and Taylor Escamilla are all essential workers who have been questioning their safety in their workplace. As many of the other protesters, the three wore masks with the word "Expendable" on it. According to Collins, they were only given to essential workers in attendance to represent how they have been treated since the onset of COVID-19.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>As Maher continues to introduce speakers, two essential workers who came out to support the protest, record as counter-protesters heckled the event's speakers.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Some of the counter-protesters in attendance were live streamers from InfoWars, an extremist organization, who heckled speakers until the rally dispersed. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>A representative of the Del Valle Community Coalition spoke about the impact the lack of vaccine access has had on the Del Valle area. As she attempted to give her speech, anti-masking protesters yelled at her causing many people to attempt to block them out.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Protesters blocked the way of anti-mask counter protesters as they heckled the event's speakers and held "My Body My Choice" signs. "It's kind of insane how they're using 'my body, my choice.' It doesn't only affect you. So it's not just your body," Taylor Escamilla said.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Jeanette Gregor, cofounder of Amplified Sound Coalition, also had to fend off counter-protesters as she gave an impassioned speech about the danger essential workers place themselves in by going to work and have yet to qualify for COVID-19 vaccine. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Around 2 p.m., State Troopers began to arrive at the Capitol amid heightening tensions from protesters and counter-protesters. As police presence began to increase, the event came to end about 15 minutes later. Despite the constant back and forth between sides and the arrival of law enforcement, the protest came to end peacefully.</p>
The world has changed drastically over the past year, and South by Southwest, one of Austin's most beloved institutions, has, too.
After being abruptly canceled by the city last year, one week before it was set to kick-off due to the increasing understanding of the potential impact of COVID-19, it returns this year in a virtual format March 16-20.
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Austin Public Health will release first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments on a weekly basis starting Monday evening. The specific days and number of appointments made available will depend on the weekly allocation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Previously, APH released first dose appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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