Blog

#BlackLivesMatter | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Listen to Black Voices.

This past weekend, police violence roiled Austin and many other cities. The police slayings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Michael Ramos in Austin, and countless other unarmed Black people in the United States sparked unprecedented protest—mostly peaceful, sometimes not.

Austin Justice Coalition planned a march on the Capitol on Sunday—with speakers including Michael Ramos’s mother—which was canceled after the Austin Police Department fired rubber bullets and pepper spray at protestors on Saturday. Despite Sunday’s cancelation, hundreds still showed up to protest the treatment of Black bodies by police in the United States of America.

There is a lot of confusion about what, exactly, happened this weekend. But before anyone criticizes the tactics, consider that there has never been a “right way” to protest.

Going back further in history, Austin Justice Coalition executive director Chas Moore reminds us that our nation was founded on the “looting” of land from Native Americans and the “looting” of Black bodies from Africa.

Event canceled. More details coming soon!

Posted by Chas Moore on Sunday, May 31, 2020

This post from AJC ally “Grits for Breakfast” also sums up the moment:

“I’m told by state and local officials repeatedly that I’m asking for too much and must understand that change takes time. But I’ve been involved in efforts to effect change at the Austin Police Department for fully a quarter century and objectively, we’ve achieved very little. From my perspective, I’ve been incredibly patient. Almost certainly too patient. Yesterday, Austin officials got a taste of what it looks like when a community runs out of patience.”

What’s next? Read these “Steps You Can Take Today” by Austin Justice Coalition

Become a Texas poll worker

Last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled that fear of getting COVID-19 is not reason enough to justify voting by mail. (The ruling leaves it to the individual to determine other reasons for claiming disability and voting by mail—which is confusing as hell.)

One thing is clear: Texas will need more poll workers. And especially poll workers who are not in coronavirus high risk groups. Below are resources about becoming a poll worker to share with friends and family.

Travis County Temporary Election Positions

Williamson County Poll Worker Resources

Hays County: Become an Election Worker

Guadalupe County: If you are interested in becoming an election worker, please contact the Elections Office at 210-945-4199.


Virtual Events

Help new Texans register to vote

Beto O’Rourke’s Powered by People organization is holding virtual phone banks to call new Texans to ensure they register to vote.

Register for the June 1 phone bank 

Register for the June 8 phone bank

Find another phone bank or host your own

Tuesday, June 2

Austin Justice Coalition General Body Meeting

6:30 p.m. on Zoom.

RSVP on Zoom

View Facebook event

Sunday, June 7

Austin Justice Coalition Policy Team Meeting

3 p.m. on Zoom. Feel free to come and learn about local and statewide policy/ legislation and way you can get engaged with us or just as a concerned citizen.

Join Austin Justice Coalition’s Policy Team as we continue our efforts in making sure Texas is equipped with best practice policies in criminal justice and other areas of concern for our organization.

RSVP on Zoom

View Facebook event

Wednesday, June 10

A Reckoning: An Appeal to White America

6:30 p.m. on Zoom

This is not the time for outrage, anger and social media hysteria that is not followed by action. We want to continue to see our brothers and sisters of color join us in the work we do, but this plea is to White America that continues to perpetuate a system of fear, violence and disgust. Join us as we hear from the Austin Justice Coalition’s Executive Director Chas Moore deliver pointed words about how we must be forward

RSVP for A Reckoning: An Appeal to White America

Thursday, June 11

Monday, June 15

Last day to register to vote in the July 14 runoff elections. (Early voting starts June 29.)


Central Texas Coronavirus News & Resources

COVID-19 Racial Disparities Could Be Worsened By Location Of Test Sites : Shots – Health News (NPR)

Only 7 states limit vote-by-mail access based on age. Texas is one of them. (Progress Texas)

Some Texas hospitals continued to sue patients for unpaid medical bills during the coronavirus pandemic (Texas Tribune)


Your moment of Zen

 

Share your Texas healthcare story; Tell Spencer Cronk to Bring In Progressive Police Leadership | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Share your Texas healthcare story

Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the nation for children, adults, and women of childbearing age. Gov. Abbott’s failure to expand Medicaid in the midst of global pandemic exacerbates the deadly conditions that kill more Texans. The #SICKOFITTX coalition is collecting Texans’ healthcare stories to share with lawmakers.

Tell your healthcare story

RSVP for the Covid19 in Black and Latino Communities Virtual Town Hall

Call Cornyn and Cruz and demand they pass the HEROES Act

On Friday, May 15, House Democrats passed the fourth coronavirus package, the HEROES Act. The bill improves significantly on the CARES Act, especially on democracy and protections for immigrants, and provides additional financial relief and public health measures.

Connect to your senators via Indivisible’s calling tool

Tell John Cornyn to stop blaming China for Trump’s death toll

Donate to support UT’s undocumented students and their families

Donate to Support UT’s Undocumented Students and Their Families

Although many in our community received relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), racist and xenophobic political leaders’ changes won out: immigrants were cut from provisions for COVID-19 testing, care, and economic relief. But it’s even worse for our undocumented family, friends, and neighbors. Undocumented students at UT, trying to accomplish dream of a college education, were not only denied CARES Act relief funds but were also misinformed about eligibility for these funds. So what can you do about it?

Donate directly to undocumented students through the student organization University Leadership Initiative (ULI) (@ulitx in Venmo)


Action of the Week

Austin Justice Coalition’s Virtual Tribunal on APD Chief Brian Manley

Austin Justice Coalition livestream of APD Chief Brian Manley tribunal

Last week more than 30 groups and individuals—including Indivisible Austin—participated in a virtual “tribunal” in which each person spoke about their own struggle with the Austin Police Department and its leadership.

Austin Justice Coalition is a Racial Justice Group that educates and builds community power for people of color who live in Austin, Texas that need support, community, and liberation during a time of systemic injustice in America.

The deadly shooting last month of Mr. Mike Ramos by Austin police , following closely on the publication of reports affirming a culture of racism within the police department, patterns of racial profiling in policing, and a fear of retaliation against those who report it, require us to call for new leadership over public safety.

WATCH: Austin Justice Coalition – Chief Manley Virtual Tribunal (Facebook Live)

UPDATE: Manley exonerates Mike Ramos’ shooter in report to Ken Paxton filled with false statements (by Scott Henson, interim executive director at Just Liberty)

ACT: Tell the City Manager to Bring In Progressive Police Leadership (Just Liberty petition)


Endorsement

TX-21 Indivisible endorses Wendy Davis for Congress

TX-21 Indivisible is proud to announce that their members have voted unanimously to endorse Wendy Davis to represent Texas’s 21st District in the United States House of Representatives.

TX-21 Indivisible has always been about the power of people on the ground, in their communities. In that spirit we strongly encourage TX-21 residents to volunteer for and support Wendy Davis as we head toward the November election.

Read the full endorsement from TX-21 Indivisible


Virtual Events

Tuesday, May 26

Covid-19 Report on the Economy, with Reps. Celia Israel and Donna Howard

2 p.m. on Facebook Live. The representatives will be joined by Steven Pedigo, Director of the The LBJ School of Public Affairs Urban Lab.

Sign up and watch on Facebook Live

Wednesday, May 27

Indivisible “Safe Voting” Town Hall with Elizabeth Warren

4 p.m. Central. Indivisible and Elizabeth Warren team up for this virtual town hall on safe voting!

RSVP here

Texas Railroad Commissioner Candidate Forum

7 p.m. on Zoom. This year Texans will elect a new commissioner to the state agency that is responsible for regulating pollution from oil and gas development to uranium and coal mining. Join the conversation on how we can make this agency more accountable to the people of Texas – not just special interests.

RSVP on Zoom

View Facebook Event

Thursday, May 28

Covid19 in Black and Latino Communities Virtual Town Hall

6 p.m. on Facebook Live. As the opening of Texas is starting, the peak of the pandemic is too and with it, higher deaths in black and Latino communities. Join us for a conversation with medical professionals in Texas addressing the disparity of healthcare, effects on COVID-19, and what we must do to protect Black and Latino communities in Texas.

RSVP with Texas Organizing Project and #SICKOFITTX

View Facebook event

Friday, May 29

Vote by Mail Lawsuit update

11 a.m. on Zoom. Please join TX Civil Rights Project and the ACLU of Texas on Friday, May 29 at 11:00AM to get an update on the status of vote-by-mail in Texas, and how we can ensure that we have a safe in-person voting option. This event will also be an opportunity to directly ask the legal team any questions that you or your community have around vote-by-mail or in-person voting during the pandemic.

RSVP on Zoom


COVID-19 News & Resources

Sarah Eckhardt criticizes Greg Abbott’s reopening, coronavirus actions (Texas Tribune)

Lawmakers question $295M emergency deal to expand Texas contact tracing network (Houston Chronicle)

Many in Texas lose health insurance during coronavirus (Texas Tribune)

Opinion | Texas’s Republican leaders are fighting to keep voting unsafe (Washington Post)

You Don’t Need Invasive Tech for Successful Contact Tracing. Here’s How It Works. (ProPublica)

Do I Know Enough to Get a Job as a Contact Tracer? (ProPublica)

Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread (Washington Post)

How the coronavirus spreads in those everyday places we visit (Salt Lake Tribune)

How We Reopen Safely  (Andy Slavitt / covidexitstrategy.org)


Your moment of Zen

 

Tell John Cornyn that shifting blame to China will kill more Texans | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

A special message for John Cornyn: China didn’t make the US the epicenter of the coronavirus. Trump did.

Sen. John Cornyn is taking it upon himself to single-handedly shift blame for the US death toll from COVID-19 away from Donald Trump and onto…China. Cornyn’s shameless sycophancy will get people killed. It will also likely raise millions of dollars for John Cornyn.

Cornyn blame-shifting fundraising letter

Regardless of the source of the virus, or whatever missteps China made in slowing its spread, Cornyn’s “blame China” reelection strategy makes absolutely no sense, except as propaganda. Every other country, with access to the same set of facts about the virus, has handled it better than the US has. With 88,000 deaths in the US—and counting—compared to 4,000 in much-larger China, there is no way to spin such a catastrophic failure of government.

Taking China out of the equation—they may very well have underreported their statistics—the US has 272 deaths per million. Germany? 96. South Korea? Five.

These numbers are shameful and they are not getting better. The reason they are not getting better has nothing to do with China, and everything to do with the uncaring, incompetent response of Donald J. Trump and his coterie of enablers like John Cornyn. In his desperation to retain power, Cornyn is trying to agitate a diminishing base of low-information voters. Let’s push back on this cynical strategy. Let Cornyn know he has blood on his hands. And just as important, let’s vote him the hell out of office.

Write or call Cornyn now

Important Election Dates:

June 29 to July 10: Early voting in primary runoff election. MJ Hegar and Royce West are vying for the nomination to defeat John Cornyn.

July 14: Primary Runoff Election Day

October 19 to October 30: Early voting in General Election.

November 3: Election Day

Action of the Week: Body Bags at the Governor’s Mansion

Indivisible Austin was proud to coordinate with two other states to pull off this socially distanced action at the Governor’s Mansion—drawing attention to the inadequate response by Gov. Greg Abbott to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tell Greg Abbott that mass casualties is not a plan


Virtual Events

Wednesday, May 20

Public Tribunal for why changes are needed in Austin Police Department leadership

6 p.m. on Zoom. In the wake of the shooting death of Mike Ramos, Austin Justice Coalition hosts an online public event to allow folks from across the community to lay out the reasons for calling for firing police leadership.

Sign the Petition

RSVP with Austin Justice Coalition on Zoom

Saturday, May 23

Webinar: The renters’ guide to eviction defense

2 p.m. In many parts of Texas, evictions may resume starting May 18. Learn the basics of eviction law and how to protect yourself. (Please note, the City of Austin, Travis County have postponed evictions for nonpayment of rent until July 25, and some other local jurisdictions have as well)

RSVP on Zoom

Swing Left’s National Virtual Letter Writing Party – the Texas Edition!

2 p.m. Now’s the time to work on the 2020 elections! Even though lots of us are isolated right now to protect our communities, we can still get together virtually to make an impact. Join Swing Left staff and volunteers from around the country for a virtual letter writing party supporting races up and down the ballot in Texas.

RSVP on Mobilize

Tuesday, May 26

Doctors in Politics Candidate Forum with Dr. Christine Eady Mann

8 p.m. Visit doctorsinpolitics.org to join.

Dr. Christine Eady Mann

Upcoming: Tuesday June 2

Texas Senate Runoff Debate with MJ Hegar and Royce West

Livestreamed on KXAN and other stations. Details to come.


COVID-19 News & Resources

New Risk-Based Guidelines to Help the Community Stay Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic (City of Austin)

Is Texas Inflating Its COVID-19 Testing Numbers by Including Antibody Tests? (Texas Observer)

Texas officials to voters: Risk your health to vote or risk criminal prosecution (Texas Civil Rights Project)

City of Austin Utility Bill Relief application (City of Austin)

I Enrolled in a Coronavirus Contact Tracing Academy (Wired)

View more Coronavirus actions & resources for Central Texas (Indivisible Austin)

Editorial: Paxton’s actions hinder efforts to keep us safe (Statesman)


Your Moment of Zen

 

Write Your Reps! Tell John Cornyn that Trump, not China, is to blame for US Coronavirus deaths

Sen. John Cornyn is taking it upon himself to single-handedly shift blame for the US death toll from COVID-19 away from Donald Trump and onto…China. Cornyn’s shameless sycophancy will get people killed. It will also likely raise millions of dollars for John Cornyn.

Cornyn blame-shifting fundraising letter

Regardless of the source of the virus, or whatever missteps China made in slowing its spread, Cornyn’s “blame China” reelection strategy makes absolutely no sense, except as propaganda. Every other country, with access to the same set of facts about the virus, has handled it better than the US has. With 88,000 deaths in the US—and counting—compared to 4,000 in much-larger China, there is no way to spin such a catastrophic failure of government.

Taking China out of the equation—they may very well have underreported their statistics—the US has 272 deaths per million. Germany? 96. South Korea? Five.

These numbers are shameful and they are not getting better. The reason they are not getting better has nothing to do with China, and everything to do with the uncaring, incompetent response of Donald J. Trump and his coterie of enablers like John Cornyn. In his desperation to retain power, Cornyn is trying to agitate a diminishing base of low-information voters. Let’s push back on this cynical strategy. Let Cornyn know he has blood on his hands. And just as important, let’s vote him the hell out of office.

Fight COVID-19 disinformation; Tell Cornyn, Cruz & Abbott they can’t cowboy their way through this | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Three things Texans can do to fight COVID-19 disinformation and political hackery

Abbott and Trump at White House

America’s massively disproportionate COVID-19 body count was completely preventable. But prevention would have required leadership. We don’t have leaders anymore. We have lapdogs and pundits. They all need to be replaced in November, but in the meantime we have to slow the bleeding. We can do this in three ways:

  1. Pressure Gov. Abbott to ignore Trump and follow the science on COVID-19
  2. Pressure Cruz and Cornyn to pass meaningful COVID-19 legislation
  3. Fight disinformation by sharing the facts on COVID-19 with friends and family (more in the link below)

Continue reading “Three things Texans can do to fight COVID-19 disinformation and political hackery”

View all of our COVID-19 actions and resources


Virtual Events

Monday, May 11

Instagram Live: How to Access Reproductive Healthcare Amid COVID-19

5:30 p.m. on Instagram Live, hosted by Voto Latino and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Watch on IG Live

Tuesday, May 12

Indivisible Virtual Town Hall with Co-Executive Director Leah Greenberg

Indivisible Virtual Town Hall

6 p.m. Central Time. Please RSVP for log-in details. Leah Greenberg will be moderating a joint discussion with congressional candidates Arati Kreibich (NJ-05) and Melanie D’Arrigo (NY-03).

RSVP to attend this virtual Town Hall

Wednesday, May 13

We Demand More – Protect Our Elections Phonebank

12 p.m., hosted by Supermajority. Each Wednesday in May we will be calling voters to encourage them to contact elected leaders and demand that they stand up for women during this unprecedented crisis. Our first campaign will be focused on expanding access to fair and safe elections as we approach rescheduled primary elections and the general election in 2020.

RSVP for this virtual phone bank

Upcoming: Saturday, May 23

Swing Left’s National Virtual Letter Writing Party – the Texas Edition!

Swing Left Texas Letter Writing

Ongoing

National Virtual Letter Writing Parties from Swing Left

Join Swing Left staff and volunteers from around the country for a virtual letter writing party, where we’ll be writing letters to potential voters asking them to vote in critical elections.

RSVP to write letters with Swing Left


Recommended Podcast: Oh This World

Oh This World Logo

We’ve been enjoying “Oh This World,” a locally produced podcast for people, like you, who are inclined to take action. From the co-hosts:

“Our mission is to help Texans and people across the country hold our leaders accountable, and build an America that leaves no one behind. Join hosts Antoinette Perez and Lucas Schaefer as they explore the best actions to take as responsible citizens in this supremely uncertain new world (dis)order.”

Subscribe to Oh This World


Your Moment of Zen

Three things Texans can do to fight COVID-19 disinformation and political hackery

A few weeks ago the White House had a plan to confront COVID-19. They abandoned it in favor of a political disinformation campaign. Similarly, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a plan to gradually reopen the Texas economy… and then swiftly ignored his own advice.

We are witnessing a propaganda campaign that follows the same playbook as climate denialism: Blame the problem on effete nerds who, with their pesky “data,” want to enact socialism and deny Trump’s reelection chances.

Our elected leaders—John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, and our House GOP reps—are trying to cowboy their way through a pandemic. They blame China. They cast doubt on the numbers. But the virus doesn’t care. The virus doesn’t care about party affiliation. It doesn’t care about state or party lines. The virus just wants a host. And because it’s an animal virus unaccustomed to human carriers, it is reckless in who it kills.

America’s massively disproportionate body count was completely preventable. But prevention would have required leadership. We don’t have leaders anymore. We have lapdogs and pundits. They all need to be replaced in November, but in the meantime we have to slow the bleeding. We can do this in three ways.

1. Pressure Gov. Abbott to ignore Trump and follow the science on COVID-19

Abbott and Trump at White House

After initially appearing to take the coronavirus seriously, Gov. Abbott met with Trump and then immediately decided to reopen Texas despite mountains of evidence demonstrating that this will put many more people at risk. Along with Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Abbott has decided to wage a culture war instead of dealing with the pandemic. A Dallas salon owner—who was jailed for contempt of court, not for reopening her business—has become the latest symbol in the “but mah liberty!” disinformation campaign. The virus does not care about our culture wars.

Reopening the Texas economy is important. But people won’t stop dying preventable deaths just because politicians are impatient and in denial. Gov. Abbott should look for guidance from other countries and states that have successfully mitigated the coronavirus’s economic impact.

Germany, which is roughly the same square mileage as Texas and with three times the population succeeded through a combination of good health care and mass testing—including from the private sector.

Taiwan, which has almost the population of Texas, succeeded in flattening the curve by acting early and applying rigorous contact tracing. They did so without massive lockdowns.

Had Gov. Abbott confronted the coronavirus head-on, rather than stumbling and staggering in the political winds, Texas could be reopened and thriving by now. It’s not too late to start doing the right thing. The model varies country to country, but the basics are:

  • Lots of testing
  • Isolating those who test positive
  • Contact tracing

And, of course, quality health care. (Expanding Medicaid should be a no-brainer for the governor.)

Write Greg Abbott a letter telling that mass casualties is not a plan

2. Pressure Cruz and Cornyn to pass meaningful COVID-19 legislation

Ted Cruz and John Cornyn

Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have gone all-in on the culture war, choosing to stir up partisan division at the expense of lives and livelihoods. Cruz went so far as to get his hair cut by the Dallas salon owner who opened her business in defiance of state law. Cornyn is seeking protections for business owners who might be sued by their employees for being forced back to work and getting sick or dying as a result. And of course, both senators deflect from their venality by blaming China for everything. (Sure, investigate China—after we contain the pandemic in the US.)

Once again, for the senators in the back: The virus does not care about our culture wars. The virus does not care if you are in a red state or a blue state. It is here to kill—and it’s disproportionately killing and sickening workers in “essential” roles—workers who more often than not are black or brown. Rather than defend one white business owner against the “tyranny” of public health, the senators should focus on the majority of their constituents, including workers, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions.

Write your reps in Congress to demand relief for working people 

3. Fight disinformation by sharing the facts on COVID-19 with friends and family

Disinformation is the next battleground. Trump, Abbott, Cornyn, and Cruz—along with Reps. Mike McCaul, Chip Roy, Roger Williams, and John Carter—have given up on solutions to the pandemic and are retreating to their comfort zone: lying.

The Trump/Abbott plan appears to be human sacrifice. It is  mass casualties to “own the libs.” The US has more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases. We’re approaching 80,000 deaths. Compare these numbers to their favorite bogeyman, China, which has a much larger population and fewer than 5,000 deaths.

Because our leaders believe only in preservation of their own power—not in representation or good governance—their “plan” is to lie to us until they are reelected. They have massive support in the form of the White House bully pulpit, propaganda outlets like Fox News and OAN, social media bot armies, and an immovable base of supporters who will believe absolutely anything that comes out of their mouths.

What can we do? Remember that the virus is nonpartisan. While some populations are more at risk than others, Trumpies do not have herd immunity. The virus is indiscriminate; we are in this together. We can share facts compassionately. We can counter false claims. We can shine a light on the truth. Despite what our electeds say, most Americans, including Texans, are more concerned with opening the economy too quickly than too slowly.

Below are links to credible sources of information. As always, do your own research and be skeptical of miracle cures and statistical outliers. Follow the facts, follow the science, and do your part counter disinformation by sharing the truth with your friends and family.

Resources

Austin and Travis County

COVID-19 Information (City of Austin)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information (Travis County)

City of Austin Utility Bill Relief

Texas

Coronavirus in Texas: How many cases, deaths and tests (Texas Tribune)

COVID-19 Trends tracker by Christopher Tackett

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/04/29/black-texas-coronavirus-health-care-disparities/

United States

Early Herd Immunity against COVID-19: A Dangerous Misconception (Johns Hopkins)

COVID-19 Map – Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center (Johns Hopkins)

The US Still Has No Plan to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing (Atlantic)

Thresholds States Must Meet To Control Coronavirus Spread and Safely Reopen (Center for American Progress)

I’m an Investigative Journalist. These Are the Questions I Asked About the Viral “Plandemic” Video. (ProPublica)

Why It’s Important To Push Back On ‘Plandemic’—And How To Do It (Forbes)

Recommendations for Election Polling Locations Interim guidance to prevent spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Centers for Disease Control)

Write Your Reps! Demand support for working people in the next coronavirus relief package

The Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic hasn’t done nearly enough to help working people. We’re calling on members of Congress to vote against the next coronavirus relief package (COVID 4) unless it is a true People’s Agenda for relief. That means the next relief package must:

  1. Keep people on payrolls: Stop mass layoffs, and preserve employment relationships for all businesses, including small businesses. Ensure federal dollars go to workers and small businesses, not enriching CEOs and Wall Street.
  2. Provide financial relief: Expand aid for the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 epidemic, including direct cash assistance, increased food aid, debt relief, and eviction protections.
  3. Protect public health: Full health coverage for all COVID-19 care and protections for all frontline workers.
  4. Defend elections: Enact a vote-by-mail requirement for 2020 federal elections while maintaining access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting.

This outbreak has already resulted in tens of thousands of people dying, and tens of millions losing their jobs. It has thrown our elections, health care system, and economy into chaos. We can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to take these necessary steps; it’s time for members to use their vote to demand real relief through a People’s Agenda.

Fill out the form below to send a letter to your senators and House representatives

Want to call your reps instead? Visit the People’s Agenda >

Write Your Reps! Tell Gregg Abbott that mass casualties is not a plan

Abbott and Trump at White House

After initially appearing to take the coronavirus seriously, Gov. Abbott met with Trump and then immediately decided to reopen Texas despite mountains of evidence demonstrating that this will put many people at grave risk of death.

Reopening the Texas economy is important. But people won’t stop dying preventable deaths just because politicians are impatient and in denial. Gov. Abbott should look for guidance from other countries and states that have successfully mitigated the coronavirus’s economic impact.

Had Gov. Abbott confronted the coronavirus head-on, rather than stumbling and staggering in the political winds, Texas could be reopened and thriving by now. It’s not too late to start doing the right thing. The model varies country to country, but the basics are:

  • Lots of testing
  • Isolating those who test positive
  • Contact tracing

And, of course, quality health care. (Expanding Medicaid should be a no-brainer for the governor.)

Tell Gov. Abbott your concerns over reopening the state by filling out the form below.

(Need inspiration? See what other Texans had to say.)

Virtual #SickOfItTX Rally to Expand Medicaid | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Join the Medicaid for Texas Virtual Rally

Join the #SICKOFITTX coalition for a virtual rally May 5 at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live as we raise our voices collectively to Gov. Abbott and tell him to expand Medicaid now! Speakers will include lawmakers, advocates, and Texans who, like millions of others in our state, deserve health coverage NOW.

RSVP at #SICKOFITTX

Facebook Live link

Call your City Council member about APD’s deadly shooting of Mike Ramos—and demand reform of the Police Academy

On April 24, Austin police shot Mike Ramos as he was standing by his car with his hands up, then killed him as he tried to drive away. This follows closely on the publication of reports affirming a culture of racism within the police department, patterns of racial profiling in policing, and a fear of retaliation against those who report it.

Read the letter sent to the City by Austin Justice Coalition, Indivisible Austin and other grassroots groups

Please consider contributing to this GoFundMe for Mike Ramos’s funeral expenses and to this MealTrain to help his mother with food.


Virtual Events

Tuesday, May 5

Medicaid for Texas Virtual Rally

6 p.m. Join the #SICKOFITTX coalition for a virtual rally May 5 at 6 p.m. on Facebook Live as we raise our voices collectively to Gov. Abbott and tell him to expand Medicaid now! Speakers will include lawmakers, advocates, and Texans who, like millions of others in our state, deserve health coverage NOW.

RSVP at #SICKOFITTX

Facebook Live link

Saturday, May 23

Swing Left’s National Virtual Letter Writing Party – the Texas Edition!

Ongoing

National Virtual Letter Writing Parties from Swing Left

Join Swing Left staff and volunteers from around the country for a virtual letter writing party, where we’ll be writing letters to potential voters asking them to vote in critical elections.

RSVP to write letters with Swing Left

Coronavirus News & Resources

Latest News

Austin police arrest 22 people in apparent rent strike protest (Statesman)

Restaurants open, and Chip Roy takes his family for Tex-Mex (Statesman)

Coronavirus Contact Tracing Efforts Underway At Google And Apple (Buzzfeed News)

Resources

Demand that Greg Abbott expand testing in Texas

COVID-19 Testing Information (City of Austin)

TX10 Resource Guide (Mike Siegel campaign)

TX17 Resource Guide (Rick Kennedy campaign)

TX21 Resource Guide (Wendy Davis campaign)

TX25 Resource Guide (Julie Oliver campaign)

TX31 Resource Guide (Christine Mann campaign)

TX35 Resource Guide (office of Rep. Lloyd Doggett)


Your Moment of Zen

Four words for Greg Abbott | Take Action Newsletter

Take Action

Ask Gov. Abbott “Where are the tests?”

Gov. Greg Abbott is rolling out plans to reopen Texas businesses. He needs to hear from us that, without adequate testing and other measures, this will be a death sentence for many Texans.

ProPublica interviewed experts and frontline officials from Italy, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea and identified the commonalities needed to contain the virus, including:

  1. Testing on a scale far greater than what we have today.
  2. Contact tracing—other countries are deploying thousands of people to do this.
  3. Humane ways to isolate people suspected of having the virus.

Additionally—and specifically to Texas—Governor Abbott needs to EXPAND MEDICAID to provide health care to millions of currently uninsured Texans.

Write a letter to Gov. Abbott

Demand that federal COVID-19 relief helps people, not corporations

Here’s what a moral and ethical government would do right now:

  • Keep people on payrolls: Stop mass layoffs, and preserve employment relationships for all businesses, including small businesses. Ensure federal dollars go to workers and small businesses, not enriching CEOs and Wall Street.
  • Provide financial relief: Expand aid for the most vulnerable in the COVID-19 epidemic, including direct cash assistance, increased food aid, debt relief, and eviction protections.
  • Protect public health: Guarantee full health coverage for all COVID-19 care and protections for all frontline workers.
  • Defend elections: Enact a vote-by-mail requirement for 2020 federal elections while maintaining access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting.

Call your representative

Write your representative

Keep supporting the USPS: Buy stamps and demand full funding

Not coincidentally, as vote-by-mail gains traction, Trump and the GOP are trying to gut the U.S. Postal Service. In addition to being a public utility, encoded in the Constitution, the USPS provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans, including a disproportionate number of veterans and minority groups.

Buy stamps

Write your reps


Virtual Events

Monday, April 27

Virtual Roundtable with Julie Oliver—Mental Health

6 p.m. Join Julie, along with Melanie Dyer, Cassandra Hulsey and Tarik Daniels, for a virtual roundtable on mental health and remaining socially, but not emotionally, distant during this time. They will be discussing how we can approach mental health, and talk through ways we can support one another and stay healthy while weathering this uniquely challenging time.

Please RSVP to this event

Last day of the #TXLEGE “Week of Giving” to local food banks

The Texas House Women’s Caucus and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus held a “Week of Giving” to local food banks. Rep. Vicki Goodwin: “Nearly 1 in 7 Texans are food insecure, and we know that has likely risen with COVID-19. Please consider donating or volunteering this week and help spread the word by using #iGaveTX.”

Give to or volunteer for Central Texas Food Bank (and continue giving after today!)

Tuesday, April 28

Special City Council Meeting on COVID-19

Beginning at 9 a.m. City Council will meet to discuss matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic and response efforts, including the public orders that are in place.

Watch live

Physician Town Hall with Dr. Sang and Dr. Johannsen (hosted by State Rep. Erin Zwiener

State Rep. Erin Zwiener will be joined by Dr. Lee Cal Johannsen, MD (Chief Medical Officer at Christus Santa Rosa – San Marcos), and Dr. John E. Lee Sang, MD (Pathologist, Tri County Medical Society) for a discussion on COVID-19.

Watch on Facebook Live

Ongoing

National Virtual Letter Writing Parties from Swing Left

Join Swing Left staff and volunteers from around the country for a virtual letter writing party, where we’ll be writing letters to potential voters asking them to vote in critical elections.

RSVP to write letters with Swing Left

Congress Critters of the Week: Reps. Michael McCaul & Chip Roy

Reps. Michael McCaul and Chip Roy were two of three Texas GOP reps who refused to wear protective face coverings on the House floor last week. (The third was Louie Gohmert, if that’s any indication of the company these critters keep.)

This might seem like Texans trying to look tough “cowboy” their way through a crisis, but let’s remember that the point of the masks is not to protect yourself but to protect others. Mike and Chip could very well be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 and just willingly put their colleagues at risk of contracting the deadly disease.

Are these guys your reps? Give ‘em a call. McCaul: (512) 473-2357. Roy: (512) 253-4420.

Find your rep here

Read more in the Dallas Morning News


Activist Spotlight: “Oh This World” podcast

Austin activists Lucas Schaefer and Antoinette Perez—both very active in TX21 and TXLEGE Indivisible groups—have a new podcast called “Oh This World.” And it’s delightful. Tune in each weekday for their warm and whipsmart banter, and for recommendations on “the best actions to take as responsible citizens in this supremely uncertain new world (dis)order.”

OhThisWorld (@OhThisWorldPod) on Twitter

Oh This World (BuzzSprout)

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts


Coronavirus News & Resources

COVID-19 Testing Information (City of Austin)

TX10 Resource Guide (Mike Siegel campaign)

TX17 Resource Guide (Rick Kennedy campaign)

TX21 Resource Guide (Wendy Davis campaign)

TX25 Resource Guide (Julie Oliver campaign)

TX31 Resource Guide (Christine Mann campaign)

TX35 Resource Guide (office of Rep. Lloyd Doggett)

Texas, Fort Worth need more coronavirus testing to reopen (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

I just lost my job. How do I get health insurance? (CPPP)

How New Mexico Jump Started Aggressive COVID-19 Testing (TPM)

COVID Near You

In times of crisis, progressives show how leadership is done (Progress Texas)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces team to restart the economy, loosens some restrictions (Texas Tribune)

Editorial: Grocery store workers also on front lines (San Antonio Express News)

COVID-19: How You Can Help (RAICES)

National Endorsement

Indivisible TX 25 East and Wimberley Indivisible nominated Julie Oliver for a national endorsement. If you would like to join their groups or get involved, you can find them on their Facebook pages: Wimberley Indivisible and Indivisible TX25 East Austin.

From the national Indivisible Project:

Julie Oliver was another Texas candidate whom we endorsed in 2018 and also came closer than ever to flipping a red district. We are endorsing Julie to represent Texas’ 25th district once again because she has shown she is still committed to the issues that matter and is again running a people-powered campaign. Julie was spurred to run after seeing Republicans attack the healthcare of the sick, the elderly, and people with disabilities. She wants to go to Congress to stand up for these people instead of taking away the services their lives depend on. Indivisible is proud to endorse Julie and is committed to fighting alongside her, in the campaign trail and in Congress. 

Congratulations, Julie!


Your Moment of Zen