by Jose Medina

We accomplished a lot over the last few months. We’ve expanded the Texas electorate, we’ve started thousands of Texans down the path of becoming lifelong voters, and we’ve built new leaders that are from the communities they’re serving. Those victories cannot be ignored.

Throughout this election cycle, the Texas Rising campaign trained 180 young and diverse leaders. Those community leaders registered over 3,500 new voters and collected over 11,100 pledges to vote. Our team of activists made over 11,800 phone calls to make sure young people had the right ID to take to the polls or understood how to vote by mail. Even more impressive, they called over 13,100 voters to walk them through their plan to vote.

Texas ranks 51st in civic engagement (including DC). The turnout in last nights election was a reminder of that. Our work is more than turning out young people to the polls. We’re working on a long term shift in culture among young people in Texas.

We’re organizing to expand the number of people that are participating in the conversation. We’re working to educate young people across the state on the connections between the very real problems that our communities are facing and… Read More

Ask yourself these questions today so you’ve got a plan to vote tomorrow. And share this with friends who might need help if it’s their first time voting.… Read More

Where do you go to school? What’s your graduation year and your major? I am attending the University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg, Texas. My major is philosophy with a minor in religious studies and political science. My expected graduation date is in July 2016. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? I grew up in a border city, in the northern part of Tamaulipas, Mexico called Reynosa. I lived in Reynosa for 18 years until I moved to the U.S. to pursue a bachelor’s degree. I grew up with parents who were involved in politics; my father was the mayor of the city in which I grew up. I remember seeing them being involved in my community, listening to other people’s needs, and helping create change for families and individuals. My mother was the director of an organization called DIF, which focuses on the development of families, a place where medical and psychological care was given to those families who were most in need. There is a great economic disparity in Mexico, one that is easily seen. My parents wanted to create change for those communities who were most oppressed but because of a corrupt political system, my father’s mandate was terminated, and that led for my parents separation since my father fled to the United States and my mother, brother and I stayed in Mexico. My mother taught me about the social injustices she had seen in her political work, and growing up I became aware of the ‘machista’ culture in Mexico, as well as the classism and the racism that is ingrained in society. What issues are you passionate about? I am extremely passionate about reproductive issues. ‘’Pro-life’’ is a misguided euphemism; if someone is going calls themself pro-life, there are many aspects of life that should be examined and bettered through policies. These policies would have to confront poverty, malnutrition, education access, illnesses and lack of health clinic access. Pro-life should refer to what we do to care for the child after it is born. I fight for women to not only be able to make their own decision about when to have a child, because as I have mentioned, the right circumstances are not always in place at the time of pregnancy, but also for them to have access to abortion in case they decide it is not the right time to have one. Also, because of my religious studies background I am passionate about religious freedom. It is crucial and imperative for people to be able to practice their own faith or to not practice one at all, and to respect this decision. All of my work I do is done through a Latina lens, which means that most of my work is also done for the Latin@ community. When did you start advocating for progressive issues? I started advocating for progressive issues in my second year of university. The whole social justice movement was new to me; I never thought I could actually create change and make my voice heard until I found the Texas Freedom Network through a tabling done at my school. What brought you to TFN and why do you stay? TFN gives me the opportunity to actually create change in my community, whether it’s through phone banking, tabling or even going up to the State Board of Education to testify in favor of good curriculum standards. TFN’s passion and dedication to empower young students to advocate for social justice issues by providing them the tools and help needed in order to achieve their goals is what makes me want to stay. I have accomplished so much in my time with TFN. Through TFN I had the opportunity to get involved with Advocates for Youth, a reproductive justice organization where I am currently part of the Youth Fundraising Advisory Board. I am also a fellow at Young People 4, a leadership development program focusing on identifying, engaging and empowering young progressive leaders, and of course my leadership position as president in my TFN student chapter. I also try to incorporate Spanish in the work I do in order to break the language barrier for many of my fellow Latin@s who are living in the United States and want to be a part of the movement. Read More

You don’t have to vote in person. If you’re either a) disabled or b) will be out of the county during early voting dates (Oct. 20-31) and on election day (Nov. 4), then voting by mail is a great opportunity to still exercise your voting power.

To do so, first click here to download the Application for Ballot by Mail (ABBM) form. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and complete your form thoroughly.

Further instructions are available here for completing the form and mailing/faxing it to your specific county’s Early Voting Clerk.

The ABBM must be received by this Friday, October 24 at the latest – so get your application in the mail ASAP. Look up your county to find out where to mail your ABBM.… Read More

By Katie Adams TFN Student Activist During the decade that Greg Abbott has been Texas’ attorney general, he has encountered a grand total of two cases of voter impersonation. In 2011, in a heroic effort to curb this odious problem of rampant voter fraud, the Texas Legislature passed a bill requiring all Texans to show a photo ID before they’re allowed to exercise their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. It is considered one of the United States’ most stringent voter ID bills, because only seven forms of photo ID are accepted. Though in most situations requiring a photo ID, out-of-state drivers’ licenses are permissible, Texas election workers will not be accepting these as a valid form of ID. And even a “free” election certificate costs money. It requires people who don’t already have an ID to take time off from work (not always possible) to obtain documents proving their identity and to obtain the actual ID. It hits our most vulnerable citizens hardest, and that is simply unacceptable. Read More

Chuck Lindell

Texas House gives final approval to SB 1978, known as the Chick-fil-A bill, on 79-64 vote. It returns to Senate to consider amendment that struck a section giving the AG power to sue to enforce the bill. #txlege Background: statesman.com/news/2…