Things That Matter

Residents Of This Texas City Want To Show Support For Immigrants So They Started A Group To Pressure City Officials

“The color of my skin is not probable cause.”

Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin have joined a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, a very tough anti-sanctuary city law that has been compared to Arizona’s SB 1070 or the “show me your papers” law. Those are four of the five largest cities in Texas. The fifth city in that category is Fort Worth, a typically conservative city that has so far stayed quiet in the debate of the law, according to United Fort Worth‘s film “A Call To Action Film.” One of the lead organizers of the group tells mitú that the fight against SB4 needs everyone on board, including Forth Worth and that exactly what United Fort Worth aims to do.

Anette Soto recalls that SB4 has plagued Texas since the beginning of this year. There were many demonstrations across the state calling for the bill to be rejected by the state legislators, yet the bill still passed.

“Many of us spoke out and made statements against SB4 but ultimately had to watch our state legislature passed it into law, strictly on party lines and with complete disregard of any concerns voiced by cities and law enforcement officials,” Soto says. “Ultimately, it passed and we braced ourselves for the worst. Several social justice organizations filed lawsuits immediately, but it wasn’t until a tiny border town named El Cenizo, Texas joined a lawsuit against the State of Texas that suddenly it seemed that people still had an opportunity to be heard. Shortly after, San Antonio joined the lawsuit, then Austin, then Dallas, then Houston. Hope was suddenly alive again, except in Fort Worth, Texas where we live.”

Soto tells mitú that she felt like residents of Fort Worth didn’t want to “rock the boat” by talking about the bill because of it’s conservative environment.

“Fort Worth, a conservative city with a truly very philanthropic and family-oriented community, suddenly fell silent,” Soto tells mitú. “It took a group of very passionate local college students to force the conversation and they were the ones that started United Fort Worth, and ultimately started organizing actions to push our city council to publicly vote on whether or not to join the existing SB4 litigation.”

Soto tells mitú that A Call To Action was created to show and explain the sentiment in the Latino and immigrant communities that some people don’t understand, or try to pretend they don’t understand. In Fort Worth, according to Soto, they have to create a different kind of argument that they are using in the other major cities with more progressive ideals. Rather than taking an aggressive stance like that of Houston and Austin, Soto and United Forth Worth organizers understand that they are trying to talk to people that voted predominately for Gov. Greg Abbott, who enthusiastically supports the bill.

“Hopefully putting our faces, experiences, and fears into this film will yield enough understanding and support for our city to stand up for us as well,” Soto says. “You’ll note there are a lot of non-Latino faces in the film. This is not just a Latino concern in our community, this is a human concern.”


READ: In Sparkly Ruffled Dresses, Quinceañeras Are About To Flood The Capitol To Protest A Texas Bill That Affects Thousands Of Latinos

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Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Things That Matter

Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Photo via Getty Images

Students at a high school in Aledo, Texas are being disciplined after the administration discovered they held a mock slave auction on Snapchat where they “traded” Black students.

Screenshots of the Snapchat group show that these unnamed students “bid” on students of color, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100.

One student in particular was priced at $1 because his hair was “bad”. The screenshot also shows that the group chat’s name changed regularly. The group’s name started as “Slave Trade” then changed to “N—-r Farm”, and finally to “N—– Auction”.

Upon learning of the mock slave auction, the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus’s principal wrote a note to parents explaining the situation. Principal Carolyn Ansley called the mock slave auction “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” which “led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can have a profound and lasting impact” on people.

Many people felt that the school principal downplayed the gravity of the mock slave auction. Not once did she mention the word racism in the letter that she sent out to parents.

“Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said Mark Grubbs, father to three former Aledo ISD students, to NBC DFW. But Grubbs, along with many other Aledo parents and community members, say that the incident didn’t surprise them.

In fact, Grubbs said he had to take his children out of the Aledo ISD school system because of how much racist harassment his children were facing. “A lot of racism,” he said of his son’s experience at the school. “My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn’t mind fighting and that didn’t sit right with me and my wife. My son was never a fighter.”

After the backlash to the initial statement, Superintendent Susan Bohn finally released a statement condemning the racism and “hatred” of the mock slave auction.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,’ Bohn wrote. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

The problem with “policies” like these is they fail to target the issue of racism at the root. Hate speech may be “prohibited”, but if a child is displaying racist behavior for whatever reason, the bigger problem is the way that they have been educated and indoctrinated. Slave auctions have no place in 2021.

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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Things That Matter

Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Photo via Getty Images

The GOP’S voter-suppression tactics in Georgia have been gripping the nation. But now, the media is also turning its attention to other voter-suppression tactics in the rest of the country. Now, Texas Republicans are taking the heat.

According to Common Cause Texas, Texas Republicans are planning on recruiting thousands of volunteers create an “election integrity brigade”. They want the “brigade” to go into Black and brown neighborhoods in Houston and “fight voter fraud”.

A Texas GOP presentation was leaked that outlined plans to send an “army” of poll-watchers to Black and brown precincts.

“I’m trying to encourage and recruit, as a precinct chair, about 30 people in my precinct who will have the confidence and courage to come down in here…,” said an unnamed GOP official, pointing to majority non-white urban areas, “…in these areas where we really need poll-workers. Because this is where the problem is occuring.”

“So me finding poll-watchers out here, it helps, but it’s a pretty safe precinct”. He said this while pointing to majority-white Houston neighborhoods.

The video inspired outrage among people who saw these tactics as blatant attempts to suppress the voting rights of POC.

“The impetus for releasing [the video] right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways,” said executive director of Common Cause Texas, Anthony Gutierrez, to NBC News. “And also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher.”

“It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Gutierrez to The Washington Post.

“This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. Why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?”

This “election integrity brigade” comes on the heels of a problematic election bill the Texas Senate just passed.

According to NBC News, the bill “bans overnight early voting and drive-thru early voting” and also “empowers partisan poll watchers.”

“It’s part of the intimidation, the confusion, the antics that (the Republican Party) has engaged in for so many generations that culminated in President Trump asking people to overturn the election,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to CNN.

“What they’re doing is filing bills that are essentially a poll tax that weaponize the election system against our own voters,” she continued. “And what they’re proposing is absolutely tragic and reminiscent of the worst of what we’ve seen in Texas and across the South since Reconstruction.”

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