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LatinoJustice calls upon all Texans to Organize Against Dehumanizing Bills

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

September 3, 2021 

Press contacts: 
Sarai Bejarano | Manager of Traditional & Digital Media | [email protected] | 212-739-7581 

 

LatinoJustice calls upon all Texans to Organize Against Dehumanizing Bills
 

TX., September 3, 2021  — LatinoJustice PRLDEF wholeheartedly condemns the totalitarian takeover of a failed nation state that has resulted in an attack on the rights of women, the whitewashing of a violent history, and a newly armed citizenry encouraged and empowered to police other citizens who attempt to regulate their own reproductive and economic futures. This takeover is based on a fervent religious conservatism and is abetted by an attack on cities that fund community-based groups at the expense of local police budgets, a criminalization of those who do not have the means to procure their housing and a militarization of its borders.

We are speaking of Texas.

The list of statutory atrocities passed by the Republican-led Texas legislature this year would be condemned by those same legislators if applied by rulers of other countries to their citizens. But this is the United States, where we have long condemned others for stripping away freedoms from their citizens while demanding a right to deny them to our own and damn the Constitution. The culmination of that hypocrisy, at least in Texas, has been a slate of bills passed and enacted that are breathtaking in their stripping of dignity, worth, personal autonomy and social services to anyone but the white power base that run that state.

 Just to briefly name the worst:

  • Allowing permitless handgun carry for Texans 21 and older without training or a license as long as they are not otherwise legally prevented from doing so;
  • Prohibiting abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and empowering private individuals to sue abortion providers or people who assist abortion at that stage;
  • Severely limiting voting opportunities for Texans, primarily communities of color;
  • Changing social studies curriculum and prohibiting teachers from discussing current events and systemic racism in class, dumbing down Texas schools and denying brown, Black, and Indigenous folx the right to speak to historical oppression;
  • Reducing sales tax revenues and preventing increases in property taxes to cities that cut police budgets or that do not raise them proportionately with other tax-payer provided services;
  • Criminalizing homelessness by making camping in public places a crime carrying a fine of up to $500 and then not allowing cities the opportunity to opt out of the ban;
  • Restricting release on personal recognizance and, for individuals charged with certain crimes, necessitating cash bonds and penalizing those without funds;
  • Funding Operation Lone Star – Gov. Greg Abbott’s personal mission to militarize the border by declaring counties “disaster areas” and circumventing federal prerogatives in immigration by enlisting state troopers to arrest migrants and charge them with trespassing.

Except for the legislation allowing Texans to pack their pistols without obtaining a license, all of the other bills are specifically aimed at women, the economically disadvantaged and/or communities of color. In the case of the six-week abortion ban – already allowed to go into effect by a SCOTUS vote of 5-4 – the targets specifically were women of color without the means to seek abortions out of the state.

Texas has never been a hotbed of progressive politics. Its chest-beating braggadocio as the best and biggest has rarely been true, except in those areas where misery can be counted – the biggest prison system, the most immigrant detention centers, the most executions, the lowest percentage of people with access to mental health services, ad nauseam. But there was always a sense of hope that somehow the corner was being turned toward compassion and humanity. This week has put that hope to rest.

LatinoJustice calls upon all Texans to organize against a governor and legislature that has donned the Trumpian mantle of racism and exclusion to an extreme only envisioned, but not brought to fruition, by the 45th president. The race-based legislation and policies enacted in the recent Texas legislative session can only be defeated by communities led by those most affected by these dehumanizing bills, by Texans determined to claim their seats at the tables of power. Those communities must set aside notions that these issues are narrow and only applicable toward certain swaths of people. This is an attack on the very future of Texas. If not now, when?

 

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About LatinoJustice
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.LatinoJustice.org