AUSTIN (KXAN) — While many spent the morning with eyes glues to the TV, watching the swearing-in of the nations 45th president — others chose to keep their hands busy.
The movement is known as One20, not only marking the actual date in January, but to encourage people, regardless of political affiliation, to give back and transform inauguration day into a day of service.
A group of volunteers in Austin worked through organizing papers for staff and patients at Manos de Cristo — a non-profit offering low-cost dental care to the uninsured.
“It’s more positive. I guess I always want to be more positive instead of against something. I want to be for something,” said volunteer Nancy Ball-Corriere. “I mean, I know this is nothing like Martin Luther King, but if he had said nothing is going to happen, well you have to start somewhere. You have to start somewhere.”
Manos de Cristo board member Shannon Bieverdorf said the idea is not about choosing not to watch the inauguration, it’s about doing something to help the community instead.
“Even though a lot of people did not vote for Donald Trump, he is our president and we are going to get more accomplished by working together than by being divisive,” she said.
Another group of volunteers spent the morning inside the Zavala Elementary School library in East Austin, helping put books on the shelves at the exact moment President Trump was being sworn in.
“We just felt like after all the issues and the rants that led up to the presidential election, a way to get beyond that is to do good acts in the community and we are more powerful when we work together,” said volunteer Kent Nutt.
Even for Zavala veteran volunteers like Sandy Smith — there’s a bit more motivation to be there.
“Eight years ago, I went to the inauguration. I’m sorry,” Smith said through tears. “It’s making me emotional to think about that. But yeah, this is a great escape.”
It’s the same idea Sarah Blumberg had. She’d only found out about One20 online just minutes before showing up to the library.
“I really did not want to watch and I was trying to think of what else I could do and I heard about this movement and it just fit me perfectly,” she said.
One20 volunteers helped out in other Texas cities today as well as Chicago, Denver and Eugene, Oregon. Organizers say they hope it inspires people to give back on a more consistent basis.