Category: Social Justice

Join us for the MLK March and Celebration

Join us for the MLK March and Celebration

This coming Monday we will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy of work pushing for and passing civil rights legislation signed by President Johnson has left an enduring mark on the fabric of our country. His work and this legislation showed how government could work with, not against, communities to bring about positive, meaningful change in our country.

His message of change and empowerment is just as important now as it was during the Civil Rights Movement. In the face of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and discrimination, we should all take time to consider the principled stand Dr. King took during his life and think about the principled stances we should take in our own lives.

On Monday, January 15 at 9am, we will honor the life and legacy of Dr. King with the annual MLK Celebration. The celebration will begin with a program at the University of Texas near the MLK statue (on the east side of the tower, off Speedway). We will then march to the Capitol for another program and then continue onto Huston-Tillotson University at 804 Chalmers St, where the MLK Community Festival will take place until 3 p.m.

TCDP will be marching in the parade to honor Dr. King, and we would love to have you join us. We’ll be standing near Speedway and the MLK statue, so keep an eye out for our banner. You can follow our Facebook event for further updates on the day of the march.

For more information on the program please click here. If you have questions about marching with TCDP please email us at info@traviscountydemocrats.org or give us a call at 512-477-7500.

With Trump and his Republican allies controlling our government, we cannot afford to have anyone sitting on the sidelines. Now is the time to stand up and help continue the work of Dr. King. I hope you join us for the march and, even more, help us pursue the dream of Dr. King.

 

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Charlottesville – Fight Racism At Every Turn

Charlottesville – Fight Racism At Every Turn

 

Like many of you, I was horrified by the scenes in Charlottesville this past weekend. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of those that we lost and were injured. Nothing can ever repair the damage that has been done.

While I was horrified by what I saw, I was not shocked. For years, Donald Trump has spoken with “dog whistles” and refused to disavow the support of white supremacist, neo-nazis, confederate sympathizers, and the KKK. We are at a critical point for our nation. We cannot sit on the sidelines or play pitty pat but must be clear with our repudiation of the abhorrent displays of racism and evil in our world. Now is the time to stand up and make one thing clear: This must end now!

Locally, I am in full support of Mayor Adler, Council Members Kitchen and Casar, and other Council Members efforts to rename Robert E. Lee road in Austin. I helped lead the fight for the removal of the Jefferson Davis Statue on the UT Campus and will do whatever I can to provide support to the Mayor and Council Members in this effort. Let’s get this done.

As many of you have probably seen, similar rallies are being planned around the country and in Texas, including here in Austin. We will remain strong and unafraid during these trying times. It is important for our community to show up at counter protests and unity events. We must fight racism at every turn. Hate has no place here or anywhere. Our community’s strength, unity, and resilience will win out.

 

Sincerely,

Vincent Harding, Chair
Travis County Democratic Party

 

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Community Conversation: Poverty in Central Texas

Community Conversation: Poverty in Central Texas

Please join TCDP on Chair Harding’s 30th birthday, Thursday, September 14th, 2017 as we host a community conversation to discuss poverty in Central Texas. The discussion will take place from 6:30 – 9:00 pm, with doors opening at 5:45 pm, at the Millennium Youth Complex, 1156 Hargrave Street.

This is an important issue in Central Texas and around the country, so we are glad to host a dialogue about how we can work together to help.

The evening will be moderated by TCDP Chair Vincent Harding with talks from Hon. Mayor Steve Adler, Hon. County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, and Community Advancement Network Executive Director Hon. Raul Alvarez. We will also be hosting a panel discussion that also includes community leaders Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, Travis County Treasurer Dolores Ortega Carter, ACC Trustee Sean Hassan, AISD Vice President Geronimo Rodriguez, and County Court Judge Hon. Darlene Byrne. We will also hear from some non-profits organizations that are doing amazing work in Central Texas.

This dialogue will be live streamed, and we will be using the hashtag #CCATX. You can find up-to-date details on our Facebook event page. If you have any suggested questions for our community panel, please fill out the google form.

With this being Chair Harding’s birthday, we thought we would keep in line with the spirit of the evening. If you can, please bring a gift in the form of canned goods to be donated to Caritas or by making a donation the night of the dialogue to one of the non-profit organizations present at the event.

I hope to see you September 14th. You bring the canned goods, and we’ll bring the birthday cake.
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Resolution Endorsing Challenges to SB4

Resolution Endorsing Challenges to SB4

Resolution Endorsing Legal Challenges to  SB4 Passed at Last CEC Meeting

On May 31, the County Executive Committee passed a resolution endorsing legal challenges to the racist, anti-immigrant SB4 passed by the Texas Legislature during the legislative session. The resolution is as follows:

Travis County Democratic Party’s Council Executive Committee Resolution Endorsing Legal Challenges to Texas Senate Bill 4

WHEREAS:

More than 17% of the Travis County community was born outside of the United States, and about 12.5% are not U.S. citizens, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. They are our neighbors, family, and friends, and they make immense economic, social, and cultural contributions to this country;

WHEREAS:

When local law enforcement officers engage in immigration enforcement, it makes everyone in the community less safe, and further, it exposes all people of color to increased risk of racial profiling;

WHEREAS:

On April 30, 2014, the Travis County Democratic Party’s (TCDP) Council Executive Committee (CEC) called on the Travis County Sheriff’s Office to opt out of the “Secure Communities” program, which invited local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement through ICE’s detainer regime;

WHEREAS:

On July 26, 2014, the Austin City Council passed resolution 20140626-099 criticizing the Secure Communities program and discouraging the Travis County Sheriff’s Office from complying with ICE detainers;

WHEREAS:

On January 20, 2017, Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced a new policy in which Travis County would strictly limit cooperation with ICE detainer requests, and on January 23, Governor Greg Abbott wrote Sheriff Hernandez a public letter threatening, if she did not rescind the policy, to cut funding to Travis County and work with the Texas Legislature “enact tough policies” to punish local officials that do not fully comply with ICE detainers;

WHEREAS:

Sheriff Hernandez was undaunted and put the policy into effect February 1, 2017; and the following day, Abbott tweeted: “Texas will hammer Travis County”;

WHEREAS:

On February 11, 2017, TDCP’s CEC passed a “Resolution in Support of Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s ICE Policy,” stating Travis County shared Sheriff Hernandez’s principles and declaring its strong support for the Sheriff’s ICE policy;

WHEREAS:

Senate Bill 4 was filed in Texas Legislature as a highly partisan, “show me your papers” measure, designed to encourage local law enforcement to help enforce immigration law. It passed both the Texas House and Senate on party-line votes by members of the Texas Republic Party, and Abbott signed it into law on May 7, 2017;

WHEREAS:

On May 7, 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Travis County; Sheriff Hernandez; the Austin Mayor, City Council, and City Manager; and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), seeking a declaration that Senate Bill 4 is constitutional (Texas v. Travis County, et al. 1:17-CV-00425 (W.D.Tex – Austin));

WHEREAS:

On May 18, the Austin City Council directed its City Manager to pursue litigation “to provide relief to the City of Austin and the people of Texas from Senate Bill 4”;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:

The Travis County Democratic Party’s County Executive Committee strongly encourages and endorses efforts by Travis County, the City of Austin, and other local political entities to pursue litigation and all other necessary efforts to thwart the restrictions, mandates, and goals of Senate Bill 4.

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Community Conversation: Law Enforcement & Post Use of Force Incidents

Community Conversation: Law Enforcement & Post Use of Force Incidents

TCDP is excited to host a community conversation to discuss law enforcement and post use of force incidents on Thursday, July 20th, 2017 from 6:30-9:00pm, with doors opening at 6:00, at ACC Eastview, 3401 Webberville Road. You can find more information on our Facebook event page.

This is an important issue in Austin and around the country so we are glad to continue the dialogue with our third conversation on this topic.

The evening will be moderated by TCDP Chair Vincent Harding with presentations from District Attorney Margaret Moore and Police Chief Brian Manley. We will also have a panel discussion with several community leaders including Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, Austin City Council Member Delia Garza, Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder, Measure Austin President Meme Styles, and board-certified criminal defense attorney Amber Vazquez Bode.

The evening will consist of three main parts:
Part 1: Panel discussion – Vision for law enforcement, building community trust, and current events.
Part 2: Education – Presentation by Chief Manley on the Austin Police Department’s process following use of force incidents and a presentation from District Attorney Moore on the Travis County District Attorney’s Office uses after a use of force incident.
Part 3: Community Panel – Current events and questions and comments from the community.

This event will be live streamed, and we will be using the hashtag #CCATX. The recorded event is available here: https://youtu.be/yoW1RPUIsN0

If you have any suggested questions you would like to be asked of our panelists, please fill out the google form. Questions can also be submitted via Twitter using our hashtag #CCATX during the event. I hope this will be the first of many community conversations that will take place this year on different topics. I hope to see you there.

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Weekend Recap (3/25) and upcoming events

This past Saturday, the Travis County Democratic Party marched in solidarity in the César E. Chávez “Si Se Puede” March. It was great to see so many people marching in remembrance of one of the most important leaders of the 20th century.

That same Saturday was also the Save Texas Schools Rally at the Capitol, a rally to encourage the Texas Legislature to provide adequate and fair funding for public schools and reform in high-stakes testing.

We also want to send a thank you to Congressman Lloyd Doggett for his hard work to help stop Trumpcare and save Obamacare.

This week is going to be a busy week, so here are some events to keep an eye on:

#TXLege Resistance Coalition

TCDP is helping spearhead a coalition of progressive organizations for daily bill tracking at the Texas Legislature. We are focused on building the collective power of our movement in Texas and in the state legislature. 

Every Monday through Thursday through May 8 we’re asking advocates to join us at the Capitol to register on bills that are scheduled for a hearing on that day.

You can sign up to receive bill lists via email here, join our Facebook group here and pick up daily bill list packets in Rep. Chris Turner’s office in E1.408.

Texas Democratic Party’s Fair Shot Training Summit

Join the TDP for a training summit April 1-2; I’ll be moderating one of the panels. Learn about how we can work together to elect more Democrats across Texas. Limited space is available so reserve your spot today!

Texas Democratic Party Reception with DNC Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison

Support our state party and meet the new leadership at the DNC at a reception hosted by TDP this Saturday, April 1 at 6:00 PM.

Sincerely, 

Vincent Harding, Chair

Travis County Democratic Party

 

Call the House B&I Committee and Oppose HB 577 Today!

Call the House B&I Committee and Oppose HB 577 Today!

Did you know that Rep. Paul Workman (R) from Austin has filed a bill, HB 577, that would prohibit municipalities from implementing fair change hiring ordinances, just like the one the city of Austin passed?

The House Business & Industry heard the bill on 3/20 and we need you to call the committee members and tell them to oppose the bill.

Rep. Rene Oliveira- Chair – (512) 463-0640
Rep. Hugh Shine- Vice Chair – (512) 463-0630
Rep. Nicole Collier – (512) 463-0716
Rep. Ramon Romero – (512) 463-0740
Rep. Paul Workman – (512) 463-0652
Rep. Jason Villalba – (512) 463-0576
Rep. Jonathan Stickland – (512) 463-0522


#DayWithoutAnImmigrant

#DayWithoutAnImmigrant

On February 16th, protestors and businesses participated in #DayWithoutAnImmigrant, a day in which businesses were closed and immigrants took off work in order to show the economic impact that immigrants have on Americans’ daily lives. Given that ICE raids are happening on a daily basis, across the city and country, it is important that we stand firmly with them. They are important members of our community who are being unfairly and wrongly targeted.

Read more on #DayWithoutAnImmigrant here.

Community Conversation on Race & Policing

 

Dear Travis County Democrat,

Due to overwhelming interest in our upcoming Community Conversation on Race & Policing on Monday, August 24th, we will be relocating the event to the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, at 1156 Hargrove St., in East Austin, which has ample seating and free parking.

The doors will open at 7:00 p.m., and the discussion will start at 7:32 p.m. (the start time is in memory of Larry Jackson, whose life was tragically ended by an Austin police officer at age 32), concluding at 9:00 p.m.

The Discussion will be moderated by TCDP Secretary Vincent Harding and the panelists include:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler

City Council Member Ora Houston

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

Austin Police Monitor Margo Frasier

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder

Civil Rights Attorney Adam Loewy

Community Activist Meme Styles

Individuals wishing to ask questions can sign up to ask questions from 7 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. The first 15 people to sign up will be guaranteed the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists. If there is any additional time, additional people in attendance will be provided an opportunity to ask questions.

Please RSVP and share the Facebook event with your friends. An RSVP is not required to attend, but will help us prepare for the crowd. The RSVP also includes space for your questions and comments which will help guide the conversation.

RSVP

Sincerely,

Jan Soifer, Chairwoman

Travis County Democratic Party

PS Tickets and sponsorships for our 2015 Anne McAfee Trio of Stars Brunch on Saturday, September 19th are available here.