Rio Texas MFSA to Focus on Racism and White Privilege in 2015-2016

Robert Jensen to Speak on Racism and White Privilege

Saint John’s UMC – 2140 Allandale Rd. – Austin

Robert-JensenRobert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak on racism and white privilege at the September 10 meeting of the Rio Texas MFSA. Jensen is the author of the 2005 book, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, and the recent article “Two Things White People Should Never Say” in YES! Magazine. Jensen’s book has been described as “an honest look at U.S. racism and the liberal platitudes that attempt to conceal it”.

At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, & politics.  In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country. He contributes to local organizing in Austin, TX, through his work with the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, Jensen’s articles can be found online at

Please join us to delve into this social justice issue.

Snacks and mingling begin at 6:30p; the program will start at 7p.  Hope to see you there!

Gather at the River a Success!

For many months, we on the planning team had wondered if folks would be willing to come to San Antonio in the middle of a Texas summer to attend this event.  The answer was a resounding “yes” as 700 gathered at Travis Park UMC for this wonderful weekend!


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Congratulations to Two of Our Rio Texas Friends!

DSC09868Joy Butler receives RMN Voices in the Wilderness Award

Joy Butler, chair of the Rio Texas Reconciling Team, was named the recipient of the RMN Voices in the Wilderness Award presented at the Gather at the River conference in San Antonio. The national award, given by Reconciling Ministries Network, recognizes an individual who stands against injustice to “proclaim the rightness of inclusion for all people in the church.” Thank you Joy for your passion, skill, and perseverance!


Rev. Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks Transfers Clergy Credentials

At a worship celebration in the sanctuary of Travis Park UMC on Friday, August 7, Rev. Dr. Mindy Johnson-Hicks, transferred her clergy credentials to the Church Within A Church Movement. There to support Mindy were spouse Amy, and friends and well-wishers from around the country. Mindy is on the Board of the Rio Texas MFSA. Congratulations, Mindy!  To learn more about the Church Within A Church Movement, visit:

Austin Pride Parade – 2015


On Saturday, August 29, Rio Texas MFSA led a group of Methodists in the Austin Pride Parade. Saint John’s UMC, Trinity UMC, & Journey of Faith marched side by side, with First UMC & University UMC up ahead. We survived the heat and had a great experience giving smiles, hand hugs, water, beads, and fans to those in the crowd.

See photos at:

Justice for Sandra Bland Vigil

On August 20, a group of Austin Methodists, organized by Joy Butler, took a road trip to Waller Texas.  We didn’t let rain keep us away from our quiet vigil at the Waller County Sheriff’s office.  Four Austin UMC pastors, Michael Mumme, Cathy Stone, Hilary Marchbanks, and John Elford offered prayers and support for a Methodist pastor from Houston, Hannah Adair Bonner, who has provided a presence at the Waller County Sheriff’s Office since the first day after Sandra Bland’s death there on July 13.


‪#‎sandySTILLspeaks ‪#‎sandyspeaks ‪#‎sayhername ‪#‎sandrabland‪#‎whathappenedtosandrabland ‪#‎justiceforsandrabland

Justice for Sandra Bland


MORE THAN 4,200 PEOPLE so far have signed our petition demanding justice for Sandra Bland!  Click here to add your name!  Share the petition with your friends so we can reach 5,000 signatures.  Also, we are planning to deliver the petition to Texas DPS in Austin on Sept. 10.  Donate to help us make the trip! For more information, contact Mary Moreno at (832) 829-4174,

Invisible in Austin

Launch of Invisible in Austin: Life and Labor in an American City

Date: Friday, September 4, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm

Location:  BookPeople

, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, 78703

In Invisible in Austin, University of Texas sociologist Javier Auyero and a team of graduate students explore the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order: house cleaners, office-machine repairers, cab drivers, restaurant cooks and dishwashers, exotic dancers, musicians, and roofers, among others. The book makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring Austin, as low-wage workers are forced to the social and symbolic margins.

The panel discussion will feature co-authors Auyero and Katie Jensen, professor and Ph.D. student from the UT Department of Sociology; Pierette Hondagneu-Sotelo, University of Southern California sociology professor; Melissa del Bosque, Texas Observer reporter; and Cristina Tzintzún, executive director of the Workers Defense Project.