MFSA Actions For January

There will be no traditional meeting in January.

Justice-seeking Christians will need to be active and involved in 2017, so join us at any or all of these activities in January – or the many others highlighted in this newsletter:

  • Texas Impact Advocacy Training January 8
  • Texas Tribune Symposium on Race and Public Policy, January 13-14
  • The MLK Marches in Austin, San Antonio, and other cities, January 16
  • The Women’s March on Texas, January 21
  • Other actions that promote justice and equality; we plan to provide alerts and updates for witness opportunities as they arise.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

TCADP 2017 Annual Conference

tcadpThe TCADP 2017 Annual Conference – a must-attend event for anyone interested in ending the death penalty in Texas – will take place at St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin on Saturday, February 18, 2017.  Take advantage of pre-registration rates until February 8, 2017.

If you can’t join us for the full day, consider purchasing a ticket for our awards luncheon and keynote address by Brian Stolarz. Stolarz served as habeas corpus counsel to Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was exonerated in June 2015 after spending 10 years on Texas’ death row. Stolarz’s book about his relationship with Brown, Grace and Justice on Death Row: The Race Against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man, is a Washington Post best-seller.  Brown is the recipient of our 2017 Courage Award.

Here’s a preview of some of the workshop sessions we’ll be offering during the conference:

  • The national death penalty landscape
  • An in-depth look at wrongful convictions
  • Mobilizing networks to create change
  • Legislative advocacy
  • The intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system

Learn more about the conference, including details on our panelists, keynote speaker, sponsors, and award winners. Register today!

Featured events

January 10: 85th Texas Legislature convenes.  Stay tuned to TCADP for legislative updates.

January 16: TCADP will provide an information booth at the 24th Annual MLK Community Celebration in Austin at Huston-Tillotson University.  The festival will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM.  Email TCADP Communications Coordinator Vanessa Akins at if you would like to help with the booth.

January 16: TCADP members will march in the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Houston. For more information about the parade and celebration, please visit

January 24 and 25: Join the TCADP Lobby Corps as we deliver copies of the TCADP year-end report to all 180 legislative offices at the State Capitol.  A brief orientation session will take place at 9:30 AM both mornings in the Capitol Extension.  Email TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houle at to volunteer.

February 18: TCADP 2017 Annual Conference; St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin; 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

MLK Commemoration in San Antonio

MLKOn Sunday, January 15, 2017, two historic congregations, Travis Park UMC and St. Paul UMC (San Antonio), will gather for one worship service at 10 am in Travis Park’s sanctuary. The featured speaker will be United Methodist Bishop Woody W. White (retired), a noted episcopal leader and an advocate for social justice and civil rights.

The worship service will honor the amazing life and witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and celebrate Human Relations Day with a special offering to help all of God’s children realize their full potential.

Bishop White is a retired bishop-in-residence at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. An active leader in the Civil Rights Movement, every January White writes a “birthday letter” to Martin Luther King, Jr., chronicling the strides and missteps in matters of race during the previous year. White has also written extensively for both popular and scholarly publications. Each year, White also takes seminary students to Selma, Alabama to participate in the annual march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in commemoration of Bloody Sunday.

The service precedes the city-sponsored MLK, Jr. Commission yearly march and commemorative program, which is held the following day, Monday, January 16. The march begins at 10:00 am at the MLK Academy located at 3501 MLK Drive, and ends at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa.

San Antonio hosts the largest MLK, Jr. march in the nation, with approximately 300,000 participants. The parade is made up of families and individuals, corporate and non-profit organizations, schools, churches and civic groups, colleges and universities, and community members. For questions about the march, call 210.207.7084.

Marches Celebrate MLK Legacy

MLK marchThe Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 16, 2017 at 9 a.m. with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus.

We will then march to the south steps of the State Capitol for a short program and marchers will continue on to the historic Huston-Tillotson University, where exciting activities are planned. All businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals are invited to march and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.

More information on the Austin events here.

Information on the San Antonio events here.

Austin Friends – Join Rio Texas MFSA at the MLK Statue and march to the Capitol with us!
Contact Janice Curry – with questions.

Women’s March on ATX


Women’s March – Austin, TX

Start: January 21, 2017 • 12:00 PM

Texas State Capitol

1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

Host Contact Info:

Saturday, January 21, noon – 3 p.m.

State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701

This is a statewide companion rally to the Women’s March on Washington.

Its purpose is to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”  Male allies are welcome to participate!


Women’s March on Washington

(From event organizers, more information here.)

womens-marchOn January 21, 2017 we will unite in Washington, DC for the Women’s March on Washington. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault—that our communities are hurting and scared.  We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration, Congress, Senate, State and Local governments on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.


We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.  We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

Other “Sister Marches” in Texas in Brownsville, Denton, and El Paso…

Weekly Witness: Mondays At The Capitol

The 2017 legislative session promises to be a time of high stakes and hard choices.  It’s never been more important for people of faith to be informed and engaged.

Weekly Witness is your opportunity to put faith into action and advocate for the common good at a time when your state needs it!  Here’s the game plan:

Every Monday starting on January 16, Texas Impact will hold a short, focused advocacy training in a meeting room at the Capitol.  We–and often colleagues from our partner organizations–will present timely, insider information on a “focus issue of the day,” as well as updates and next steps on other issues that are on our legislative agenda.

Following the training, participants will make scheduled or unscheduled legislative visits with their own legislators and other key members, and sometimes attend committee meetings or take advantage of other timely opportunities.

Can’t make it to Austin every week–or ever?  Our trainings are broadcast live on Facebook, and our website will have handouts and advocacy materials like phone and email scripts and social media messages.

Sign up for Weekly Witness today!

Weekly Schedule:

  • January 9: Health Care
  • January 16: Civic Participation and Voting (Martin Luther King Day)
  • January 23: Hunger, Poverty and Payday Lending (UMW Legislative Event)
  • January 30: Religious Freedom
  • February 6: Immigrants, Refugees and Human Trafficking
  • February 13: Foster Care and Domestic Violence (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Legislative Event)

We will provide additional issues for emphasis in our next newsletter, or get them online.