News from the Third Coast Activist


Date: September 11, 2019

Time: 7:00 pm  to  8:30 pm

Robin Lakoff, Professor Emerita of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, will speak on “Narrative Control and the Human Project” as part of the University of Texas Humanities Institute’sDistinguished Visiting Lecture Series focused on “Narrative and Social Justice.” Analysis of the 2020 presidential campaign has often focused on “narrative control”–which candidate will control the central story that ultimately defines the campaign? What does this fight for narrative control tell us about how early 21st century Americans are constructing our roles as actors in the human project?

Lakoff is an expert on language and gender, the politics of language, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. She is the author of several books, including the groundbreaking 1975 book Language and Woman’s Place.

More information online. RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

Location: Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302, 201 E. 24th Street (SE corner of 24th and Speedway), UT Campus



Date: October 15, 2019

Time: 8:00 am  to  4:00 pm

Huston-Tillotson University will host the sixth annual Building Green Justice Forum, this year focusing on “Potential through Place.”

The modern environmental justice movement understands that our fates are linked to the places we live and work, and that for people of color those places often are ignored, under-resourced, and overly burdened with polluted air, water, and soil. Yet these places also are home to the environmental justice community’s pride, strength, and motivation.

Registration and coffee begins at 8 am, with speakers, panels, and workshops throughout the day. The speakers and schedule will be announced soon. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided. The forum is free but please register online. More information on the Facebook event page.

The event is sponsored by the HT Center for Sustainability and Environmental JusticeGreen is the New BlackThe Dumpster Project, City of Austin Office of Sustainability, and the Third Coast Activist Resource Center.

For more information on sponsorship, contact Karen Magid,, or Amanda Masino,

Location: Dickey-Lawless Science Building, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon St., Austin, 78702, with free parking in the Chalmers Avenue lot and free street parking around campus

A Commitment from the MFSA National Board

posted on August 25

Dismantling the Sin of Racism and White Supremacy: 
A Commitment from the MFSA Board of Directors

Methodist Federation for Social Action is committed to dismantling the sin of racism and white supremacy.  We have vowed to you to hold ourselves accountable when we fail to fully live into this commitment.

White members of the board of directors write to you to publicly repent for the ways we have been complicit in failing to interrupt white supremacy, even within our own organization.  MFSA received feedback from within our own leadership that we have failed to be obedient to our highest ideals.  We are sorry and we will do better.  We commit ourselves to do whatever is necessary to repair the harm we have inflicted and reorganize ourselves and our priorities to do the work of dismantling white supremacy.

Like The United Methodist Church, MFSA is white-dominated and white-centered.  This sin will only end after very intentional changes in behavior institutionally and personally.  We call on all MFSA communities to join us taking the necessary steps to repair the brokenness caused by generations of harm.  It is our collective responsibility and call.  We continue to commit to these values and seek to be transparent in our learnings and growings in ways that help our movement, church, and world to make real change.

We will continue to make mistakes.  However, we believe that the fear of making mistakes should not hold us back from taking a close look at ourselves, our practices, and the ways we show up.  We commit to seeking ways to show our commitment through our actions and welcome feedback and conversation.  Our belief that intersectional justice must do the hard work of hearing all voices remains strong.

All members of the MFSA board of directors continue to affirm and believe in the leadership of Bridget Cabrera as our executive director and we are grateful for her leadership during this difficult season.  We recognize that, as a queer woman of color, she has experienced much of the harm we seek to repair, even as she leads us.  We also acknowledge a similar heaviness and pain experienced by people of color on our board and in our organization, and with our coalition partners.  We board members who identify as white are growing in our awareness of how our whiteness has reinforced this harm and we vow to show up in greater ways to shoulder the weight of our responsibility.

Now is the time to work on putting into action the change we have talked about and hope for.  We call on all MFSA communities and members (regional and congregational), all Justice Seeking United Methodists, and all white-dominated congregations and organizations to join us.  MFSA’s 110-year history is one of responding to society’s challenges and challenging the UMC to live up to God’s call – we must now refine that for a new century.  You will hear more from us as we continue to hold ourselves accountable to people of color-led partners and most impacted communities on all of our justice-seeking efforts.

In full transparency, please read the words of our departing board chairs.  We are grateful for Lydia’s and Amy’s service and we will work to live into the organization they hoped us to be.


MFSA Board of Directors

Rev. Adrienne Brewington
Rev. Stephen Griffith
Rev. George McClain
Rev. Karen Nelson
Rev. Andy Oliver
Paloma Rodriguez-Rivera
Rev. Luonne Rouse
Rev. Josh Steward
Pat Stewart
Rev. Mary Kay Totty
Cynthia Tuell
Bill Watts

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

TCADP August 2019 Alert: Texas schedules 11 executions

August 1, 2019  Kristin

In this edition:

Scheduled executions and case updates: The State of Texas is scheduled to put 11 people to death before the end of the year, including two executions this month; federal executions set for first time since 2003; prosecutors take the death penalty off the table in two cases; El Paso death row inmate dies of natural causes

In case you missed it: Faith leaders call for clergy to be allowed in the execution chamber; Texas legislators form House Criminal Justice Reform Caucus; remembering former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

New resource: “The Penalty” documentary film now available on Amazon

Featured event: TCADP’s San Antonio Chapter will meet on August 14

Refugee Services of Texas

Guided by the principles of human compassion and dignity, Refugee Services of Texas welcomes refugees, immigrants, and other displaced peoples and supports them in integrating and thriving in their new communities.

Founded in 1978, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is a social-service agency dedicated to providing assistance to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group – as well as to the communities that welcome them. RST provides services to hundreds of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and related vulnerable populations from over 30 different countries of origin each year. Originating in Dallas, RST now has service centers in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Rio Grande Valley.

See the August RST Austin newsletter for ways to help:

Texas Gun Sense

August 19, 2019


Texas Gun Sense Statement

on the Governor’s Texas Safety Commission Meeting


Texas Gun Sense is grateful to participate in Governor Greg Abbott’s Texas Safety Commission, scheduled to meet at 10:30 AM on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the State Capitol. The commission consists of elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement, educators, social media representatives from around the state.

In the wake of the racially-motivated mass shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3 (which killed 22 and injured 26), Texas Gun Sense has an important message to deliver to the commission. As the only gun violence prevention organization invited to take part, we believe the Commission must recognize that the easy availability of firearms plays a critical role in gun-related violence. TGS will recommend that the commission review a number of common sense, evidence-based policies, including:

  • Instituting background checks on the sale of all firearms,
  • Raising the age of purchase for all firearms to at least 21 years of age,
  • Limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines,
  • Regulating sales and accessibility of assault-style rifles on the federal level, and
  • Adopting extreme risk protective order (otherwise known as a “red flag” laws).

While eager to participate in these talks, Texas Gun Sense is realistic when it comes to the political and policy differences which impact addressing gun-related violence in our state. In a divided environment, TGS knows that it is imperative we use this opportunity to make an effective, respectful case on behalf of the millions of Texans who demand that our state leaders must take immediate action to protect their constituents. It is our hope that following these discussions lawmakers of Texas can come together and expeditiously evaluate and enact legislation before another Texan is killed by a gun tragedy.

Read all of our policy recommendations here. For more information about gun violence and gun violence prevention, visit our website at


Contact Information:

Ed Scruggs: (512) 565-0502

Frances Schenkkan: (512) 971-0683