MFSA Monthly Meeting Thursday, April 12

In January, a group of 9 people from the MFSA chapter in Austin went to the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) on an educational tour of missions related to asylum-seekers and immigration.  At our upcoming meeting on April 12, we will provide a program on what we saw and learned on that trip.  Our special guest for the meeting is Deaconess Cindy Johnson, who is involved in several of the programs in the RGV and was our host for a portion of the fact-finding visit.  We will discuss what we encountered, and our next steps related to their missions.  Please join us for this timely discussion.

Saint John’s UMC, 2140 Allandale Road, with snacks and mingling at 6:30p and the program at 7p.  All are welcome!  Hope to see you there!

Our March Meeting – Austin Sanctuary Network

At our March meeting, we heard more about the Austin Sanctuary Network.  We had three guest speakers Anne Pomar who is a lay member at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Reverend Meg Barnhouse who is the senior pastor at First Unitarian Universalist Church, and Elizabeth Welliver who is a staff member at Grassroots Leadership.  They told us a little of the history of the Austin Sanctuary Network, and they talked about the three people who have been recently in sanctuary. Alirio from El Salvador, and Hilda and Ivan from Guatemala.

The Austin Sanctuary network is a collaboration of over 20 local religious and nonprofit organizations from all faiths.  Their purpose is to open churches to help people avoid deportation by providing a little barrier between them and deportation orders.  This is a tradition that the church has held since the time of Christ.  Two of the churches have actually been the locations for people to be in sanctuary.  Other churches provide support and transportation and advocacy.  Trinity and University United Methodist churches are already part of this network.



Date: April 20, 2018

Time: 7:00 pm  to  10:00 pm

Singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer will perform at a benefit concert for the Austin Sanctuary Network, a coalition of faith communities, immigrants, and other organizations that support immigrants fleeing violence or in danger of deportation.

The evening begins with a regional art show at 7 pm and the concert at 8 p.m. The Austin Sanctuary Network. Buy tickets online.

Location: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Drive (exit off I-35, west on Wells Branch Parkway)



iACT Hands on Housing

Saturday April 7, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
(Raindate April 21)

iACT’s Hands on Housing utilizes volunteers and skilled professionals to repair the homes of senior citizens and disabled individuals who are living in deep poverty. The goal is to keep our homeowners safe and help them remain in the homes and neighborhoods they love.

Events from Common Ground for Texans

 Common Ground for Texans

“Advocating positive solutions through civil engagement”

 Have you heard about Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program? It’s a new way of publicly funding local elections by giving residents vouchers that they can donate to qualifying candidates. It encourages more participation in local democracy, and opens the way for candidates who might otherwise lack the financial resources to run for office. The result: a more diverse and representative democracy.

Seattle councilmember Teresa Mosqueda recently visited our city to explain the program. And Austin’s Charter Review Commission is working on a version of our own, called Democracy Dollars, which may be put on the November 2018 ballot. Read more about it on our website — you can download the latest commission draft proposal here.

Also, in case you missed our March 3 meeting on redistricting, you can now watch it on video.

Finally, here are the upcoming meetings we’ve planned. Put these on your calendar now so you’ll be sure not to miss them:

  • Saturday, April 7: Generation Screwed: What did the Baby Boomers leave the Millennials? (at Old Quarry branch library)
  • Saturday, May 5: Finding Common Ground on Criminal Justice Reform (at Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church, 1314 E. Oltorf)
  • Saturday, June 9: Freedom of Speech, Identity Politics and Political Correctness (at Old Quarry)
  • Saturday, Sept. 8: Election Security in Texas with Dana DeBeauvoir (at Old Quarry)

All events will be from 2 to 4 pm.

Join Common Ground for Texans for our next general meeting, on Saturday, April 7, at Old Quarry branch library when we’ll host a panel discussion about how current American politics and policy harm the future of millennials.

Millenials have taken on 300% more student debt than their parents. They’re only half as likely to own a home as young adults were in 1975. A recent Huffington Post article entitled “Generation Screwed” examines these and other facts about today’s youth, asking whether there are structural disadvantages for young adults today. How is the American Dream faring among millennials?

Our panelists will include diverse experts in zoning, student loans, and engaging millennials in politics. We will discuss each of these issues as they stand today and what we can do to improve them for the future, with:

  • Greg Anderson, City of Austin Planning Commission
  • Amy Stansbury, co-founder, A Functional Democracy
  • Kevin McLaughlin, product manager, Student Loan Genius

Moderated by Mike Ignatowski. We hope you can make it! And please invite friends on Facebook!


Town Hall for Our Lives – April 8

All area Members of Congress and candidates are invited to participate in a town hall to discuss gun violence and gun violence prevention in America/Texas. Participants to be added as they RSVP. More details will be updated shortly.

Confirmed participants to date:
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (HD-51)
Mary Wilson (D candidate, TX-21)
Christine Mann (D candidate, TX-31)
Julie Oliver (D candidate, TX-25)
Chris Perri (D candidate, TX-25)
Joseph Kopser (D candidate, TX-21)
Mike Siegel (D candidate, TX-10)

Co-hosted by March for Our Lives Austin, Moms Demand Action, Texas Gun Sense, Indivisible Austin, Voto Latino, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, National Association of Social Workers Texas chapter, Texas Capitol Walkout for Gun Safety, Literary Women in Action, ADAPT of Texas, Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas, Counter Balance ATX, and others to be announced.


Sun, April 8, 2018

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT


William B Travis High School

1211 East Oltorf Street

Austin, TX 78704

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Town Hall For Our Lives in TX-21

On March 24, tens of thousands gathered for the first March For Our Lives to the state capitol in Austin, TX. On April 7, please join Austin area students and community leaders to fulfill the March’s call for local candidates to speak on their commitment to keep schools, churches, and concerts safe from gun violence.



Sat, April 7, 2018

3:00 PM – 6:00 PM CDT



Dittmar Recreation Center

1009 West Dittmar Road

Austin, TX 78745

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RSVP to the Town Hall For Our Lives in TX-21!

March For Our Lives was created, inspired, and led by students of all ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientation who are no longer willing to sit and wait for someone else to take action. They have issued a call for Town Halls to be held in all 435 congressional districts on April 7 and we are honored and look forward to helping fulfill their mission in TX-21.

The event will highlight student and volunteer activist action as well as expectations for elected leaders to lead a conversation on this issue. The event is open to all candidates to make comments and answer community questions.


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Hope Food Pantry

An Evening of Hope
The Ripple Effect

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 5:30pm

Trinity United Methodist Church

4001 Speedway, Austin

Reserve your tickets by emailing

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Upcoming TCADP events

April 4: Anthony Graves at Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston

April 26: Discussion and book signing with Alison Flowers in Fort Worth

April 30: “True Conviction” on PBS

Click here for more information on upcoming events.

Executions in 2018


April 25: Erick Davila
May 16: Juan Castillo
June 21: Clifton Williams
June 27: Danny Bible
July 17: Christopher Young


January 18: Anthony Shore
January 30: William Rayford
February 1: John Battaglia
March 27: Rosendo Rodriguez


February 22: Thomas Whitaker

Stop Abuse For Everyone

Hello from SAFE!  As you may know, SAFE recently launched the SAFEMen Pledge, which asks men to publicly commit to ending the cycle of violence.  The pledge has been a resounding success – nearly 250 people have signed, including City Councilman Greg Casar; businessmen Patrick Terry, Joah Spearman and Eugene Sepulveda; Rabbi Freedman; Reverend John Elford; Imam Mohamed-Umer Esmail; musician Bruce Robison; Constable Carlos Lopez; Police Chief Brian Manley, and many others.

To ensure that the pledge is more than just signatures, but rather that it instigates concrete change among the men in our community, we will hold a SAFEMen Forum.  During this community conversation, participants will have the opportunity to talk about what it means to be a man in our culture and how to counter sexual harassment and assault.

The SAFEMen Forum will be held on the morning of April 26, 2018, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin.

This is a complimentary forum, complete with a light breakfast.  We would be pleased to have you there and for you to invite your friends and colleagues to attend.  All are welcome. You can RSVP here or at the link below.


BOPA Recycling Report

Thanks to everyone who participated in the BOPA Recycling event on March 10. Special thanks to Trinity Church for allowing us to use their parking lot and to Jack Matlack and Tom McPherson for pulling the trailers.

Forty-four people recycled approximately 640 gallons of paint, 5 gallons of antifreeze, and 5 gallons of oil that was taken to the Hazardous Waste Center.

Kindertransport Performances

A modern classic about one woman’s struggle to come to terms with her past – brutally separated from her German Jewish parents at the age of 9 and brought to England with the promise of a new life…

Written by Diane Samuels and directed by Jim Lindsay, Kindertransport is produced cooperatively by Trinity Street Players and Austin Jewish Repertory Theatre April 7-29 with 8pm evening and 2pm matinee performances. Special Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Performances with an Audience Pre-Show Talks at 7:30pm on April 11 & 12.

More information here.

One Human Race Workshop


iACT Hope Awards May 1

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

We are excited to announce

the 2018 Hope Awards Honorees:

Luci Baines Johnson

Imam Mohamed Umer Esmail

A great evening is planned including a conversation with Overheard‘s Evan Smith and Luci Baines Johnson. More event details, including how you can purchase tickets and sponsorships, can be found here.

iACT Red Bench

The Red Bench – Mental Health

Join us on Tuesday, May 29 for a courageous conversation on

the topic of Mental Health. The location for this event is still to be determined.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP


May 29, 2018

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm



Rio Texas Annual Conference 2018