A young man recently shared with me that he gets pulled over by the same police officer at least once a week. He said it very matter-of-factly, like it’s something he just has to put up with.
And I know this is not an isolated matter. Everyday, in our communities, people endure harassment by police, and if they get arrested, spend days and even weeks in jail because they can’t afford bail. And it is no coincidence that most people who are trampled by the justice system are people of color.
But I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to put up with police harassment. We deserve more. We deserve better. We deserve justice.
That’s why this year, we expanded our fight for criminal justice reform to Dallas and Bexar counties, after kicking it off in Harris County in 2016. Too many of our people are having their lives destroyed by the criminal justice system, and we have the power to change it if we fight together.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of what we did this past month and what’s ahead:
On Tuesday night in Dallas, we held a well-attended Right2Justice community dinner, where members gained valuable input from the community on ways how we can locally protect rights and civil liberties, work toward ending mass incarceration, and resist the Trump agenda.
Earlier Tuesday, TOP Ed Fund signed on as a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of bail practices in Dallas County after we were denied access to bail proceedings by the Dallas County Sheriff, in violation of the public’s First Amendment rights.
We also bailed out three people who had been in Dallas County Jail accused of minor crimes because they couldn’t afford bail. Call or text Rashd Ibrahim at (469) 510-9069 or email him at email@example.com to get involved.
Currently in Houston, we’re continuing our fight to reform the bail system that a federal judge has already ruled unconstitutional but the county keeps wasting millions to defend it. We’re also gearing up to tackle debtors’ prison, juvenile justice and police accountability.
And to keep judges accountable, judges who are elected and can be allies or foes on bail reform, we are holding a meet and greet on February 16. Call or text Dieter Cantu at (832) 389-0049 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
With local elections coming up, TOP members in San Antonio are preparing to host a community forum on February 15 to hear from a couple of candidates for Bexar County District Attorney on their vision for bringing change to the office.
We also are hosting this forum to share with residents information about the power and influence this county position has. RSVP if you’re interested in attending! Call or text Laquita Garcia at (972) 342-5116 or email her at email@example.com to get involved.
This year is shaping up to be a powerful one, and our committed members are investing of their time and energy because they know the status quo is not acceptable. They know we need a transformed criminal justice that protects and serves Black and Latino families, not oppresses them.
Join the fight by contacting us today.
You can also support our fight for justice by donating here.
Yours in the fight,
Criminal Justice Director
Texas Organizing Project