TOP statement on Border Patrol agents brutally attacking Haitian asylum-seekers

The following statement is from Deyonne Primo, a Texas Organizing Project (TOP) member and immigrant from Guyana, in response to U.S. Border Patrol agents physically beating Haitians seeking asylum Monday:

“The U.S. government yesterday committed state violence against asylum-seekers in broad daylight.

“The usage of slave-era tactics to dehumanize Haitian refugees is just the latest disturbing escalation in our nation’s criminalization of migrants and those seeking asylum. 

“What we witnessed further shines a light on the everyday injustices our current immigration system, classist in structure and rooted in white supremacy, inflicts on those who are escaping dire conditions to seek a better life for themselves and their family. By building solidarity through connecting the lived experiences of Black and Latino migrants, TOP’s immigration justice campaign for now a decade has fought to transform this oppressive system from the inside out with progressive, humane policies.

“Having endured this summer the compounding tragedies of a presidential assassination, a massive earthquake claiming more than 2,000 lives, and a tropical storm causing widespread flooding, the Haitians settled along our southern border are refugees who must have their right to seek asylum fully honored.

“The Biden administration, namely DHS Secretary Mayorkas, must answer for this appalling display and be held accountable for the cruelty that transpired. Additionally, Republican Congressman Tony Gonzalez, who represents Del Rio, needs to recognize that increased militarization of our border will only lead to more suffering and make matters worse.

“In response to this humanitarian crisis, we are calling on our supporters to sign this petition demanding President Biden stop deportations of Haitian asylum-seekers. We also encourage donations to Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group working on the ground in Del Rio to help provide direct relief for these asylum-seekers at this pivotal time.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

This statement was sent out September 21, 2021. 

TOP: “Our Congressional leaders cannot afford to throw in the towel and squander this historic opportunity”

The following statement is from Jessica Azua, Immigration Justice Director with Texas Organizing Project (TOP) in response to the Senate parliamentarian issuing a ruling yesterday stating that immigration policy changes did not comply with Senate procedural rules governing the reconciliation process:

“We are disappointed, but in no way deterred or defeated. Yesterday’s ruling from the unelected Senate Parliamentarian only strengthens our resolve to win justice for the millions of immigrants in our communities who have endured decades of inaction from our leaders on immigration reform.

“With so much on the line, Democrats in the House and Senate must move forward immediately with the alternate plans they have promised to our communities they have to ensure pathways to citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS holders, farm workers, and other essential workers.

“Our Congressional leaders cannot afford to throw in the towel and squander this historic opportunity. They need to keep their foot on the gas pedal and exhaust all options available to them to secure this much needed, long-awaited reform.

“Our communities will absolutely hold Democrats in Congress accountable and to their word. Failure is not an option.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

This statement was sent out September 20, 2021.

TOP announces endorsement in Texas House District 118 special election

Following a thorough process of written questionnaires and virtual interviews, the members of Texas Organizing Project (TOP) have voted to endorse Frank Ramirez for State Representative in Texas House District 118’s special election.

James Hamilton, TOP member and Texas House District 118 resident issued the following statement:

“A product of San Antonio’s Southside, Frank Ramirez recognizes the unprecedented impact this pandemic has had on our state. He knows what working-class Black and Latino families are having to endure, and has the drive and knowledge needed to help Texas House District 118 residents get through this dire time.

“With years of experience in public service and a keen understanding of the legislative process, Frank will hit the ground running at the Texas Capitol to champion a bold policy agenda that puts the priorities of working-class communities first — from expanding access to affordable healthcare, to increasing funding for public schools, to teaming up with cities to improve infrastructure.

“TOP members are proud to endorse Frank and look forward to seeing him deliver for Bexar County residents in the Texas House of Representatives.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

This statement was sent out September 19, 2021.

Missed opportunities in city budget to keep more San Antonians housed

The following is a statement from Marco Acuna and Devorah Frost, housing justice organizers with Texas Organizing Project (TOP) in response to the San Antonio city budget vote this week:

“San Antonio City Council missed a historic opportunity to invest in our communities with its city budget vote Thursday. As the pandemic continues, negatively impacting working-class San Antonians, the city budget passed falls short on providing the housing funds needed to keep more residents on the verge of eviction from slipping through the cracks.

“The City Budget is a moral document that reflects the values of our community. We applaud the recognition from Councilmembers Castillo, McKee-Rodriguez, and Bravo that our city’s housing programs are far from being adequately funded in this year’s budget. The City of San Antonio has chosen to instead use federal funds that are not yet disbursed to meet our needs. This is simply insufficient, given how there already is a troubling backlog of residents in need of housing and rental assistance.”

Liz Davila, TOP Education Fund board member and District 5 resident:

“At a time when thousands of San Antonians are still living paycheck-to-paycheck as a result of last year’s economic collapse, it’s abysmal that little over 1 percent of our city’s $3.1 billion budget goes toward housing. Our city leadership failed to prioritize in this budget the wellbeing of our residents during such a critical time.”

Kevin LeMelle, TOP board member and District 2 resident:

“TOP members spoke up for their neighborhoods and the need for more housing relief programs at multiple town halls and budget hearings over the past few weeks. As a whole, our mayor and city council didn’t listen; they botched an opportunity to come through in a deeper and more meaningful way for San Antonio residents who are still struggling to make ends meet. This city budget misses the mark.”

Karen Muñoz, TOP member and District 7 resident:

“While I’m disappointed that our council continues to shortchange housing, something that’s a downright injustice especially during this pandemic, I’m grateful for the new council members who showed us a better way is possible in San Antonio if we put more attention and resources toward addressing the basic needs of those who need it most. This city budget is nothing to take pride in, though. When vulnerable communities made clear they needed more in this dire time, our city’s top leaders shrugged their shoulders.”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

This statement was sent out September 18, 2021.

Battling voter suppression every inch of the way

Fueled by lies, paranoia, and racism, Texas Republicans are laser-focused this legislative session on making it harder for Black, Latino, and younger voters to cast their ballot.

Senate Bill (SB) 7, a Texas bill cut from the same cloth as the voter suppression law just passed in Georgia, made its way out of the Texas Senate last week, meaning it’s a dangerous step closer to becoming law. HB 6, a similar voter suppression bill in the Texas House, currently sits pending in committee.

Large Texas-based companies American Airlines and Dell voiced their opposition to these voter suppression bills in the last few days, and more are following suit. We need to urge our state representatives to say NO to Jim and Jane Crow 2.0.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to call your representative to demand they oppose SB 7 and HB 6.

WATCH today’s press conference featuring TOP, progressive statewide allies, as well as Black Voters Matter, Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro in response to these racist voter suppression efforts.

For more information, call or text Devin Branch at (832) 705-2291.

Ramping up pressure to defeat bad bail bill HB 20

HB 20, a similar bill to horrible bail bill SB 21, will be heard by the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence this afternoon.

More than 60% of people in Texas jails – nearly 40,000 people – have not been convicted of an offense and are stuck there simply because they cannot afford bail. HB 20 will result in even more people held in jail pre-trial.  In addition, the bill would largely take away a judge’s discretion to release people on personal recognizance bond, and would require discriminatory risk assessment tools to be used for all who can not afford to purchase their release.

Share this Facebook graphic and call (512) 883-8959 to demand your state representative oppose HB 20!

For more information, call or text Laquita Garcia at (972) 342-5116.

Calling for a road to citizenship for undocumented essential workers

The March to Victory: Relay Across America continued in San Antonio yesterday as part of a nationwide effort to demand a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. As we continue to grapple with this pandemic, inclusive COVID recovery for all is necessary to ensure all get through the crisis.

In observance, TOP immigration campaign members marched “11 Miles for 11 Million” yesterday to raise their voices in support of the millions of undocumented essential workers risking their lives each and every day to keep us fed and sustain our nation’s economy during this pandemic. TOP believes it is long overdue that these essential workers receive not only added protections on the job, but a straightforward path to citizenship.

The Relay Across America consists of community-led efforts across the country, made up of in-person and virtual events, and kicked-off in Washington on March 17, with subsequent events planned in nearly 30 states through May 1. The relay aims to unite communities throughout the nation in calling for a humane immigration system that protects our 11 millions undocumented immigrants, including essential workers, DACA and TPS holders, and those who don’t currently have a pathway to citizenship.

Watch a news clip talking about the event here.

For more information, call or text Cristian Esparza at (210) 952-1096.

Celebrating Women’s History Month at TOP

Women are the heartbeat of the world: setting the agenda, driving change, building and flexing power for the common good, and achieving what was once the unimaginable.

As a group founded and led by women across the organization, TOP this month and every month channels the indomitable spirit of freedom-fighting women who came before us, with special focus on revolutionary women of color who, through, vision, immense struggle and sacrifice, have made countless contributions that have brought us closer to our collective liberation.

We are not asking for a ‘seat at the table’; we are unapologetically building our own while redefining what is possible every day through our very existence, and women of color are leading the way.

Throughout the month of March on TOP’s social media, we will be highlighting the contributions of women icons in the movement, as well as uplifting the work of TOP members and staff.

Check out our Women’s History Month playlist on Spotify.

Follow TOP’s official Spotify account.

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Your contribution drives our work and allows us to fight for our neighborhoods every day.

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Ramping up our calls for Medicaid expansion in Texas

Join TOP and #SickOfItTX coalition allies virtually this Friday, March 5, for #MedEx4TX Advocacy Day — a day of action calling on our elected officials in the Texas Legislature to #ExpandMedicaid now!

Texas can’t recover while Texans aren’t covered, and our state continues to have the highest uninsured rate in the nation. Last year, more than 1.6 million Texans lost a job, and with it, their health insurance.

Healthcare is a human right. Texans need coverage and Texas leaders can do something about it. Over 2.2 million Texans could gain coverage if our state expands Medicaid.

Sign up to be a part of a #MedEx4TX Advocacy Day and make your voice heard Friday.

Share the Facebook event here.

For more information, call or text Sofia Sepulveda at (210) 202-8678.

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Your contribution drives our work and allows us to fight for our neighborhoods every day.

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Learn about state bills that will lift up our communities

The Texas Legislature is now in full swing, and the stakes are high for Black and Latino families.

Join us Thursday, March 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. for a virtual town hall on Facebook Live, where we will hear from some members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus who are introducing House and Senate bills on the critical issues of police reform, bail reform, second chances for people previously incarcerated, juvenile justice, and more.

During the livestream, you’ll also have a chance to learn more about our Justice Can’t Wait 2021 Legislative Platform.

RSVP on Facebook here and share the event.

For more information, call or text Koretta Brown at (713) 418-0251.

TOP is YOUR organization!

Your contribution drives our work and allows us to fight for our neighborhoods every day.

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