Texas Impact Weekly Witness Program

In response to growing demand from clergy and members around the state, Texas Impact launched Weekly Witness during the 2015 Legislative Session as a way of keeping our membership informed about important issues in the Texas Legislature and how they could get involved.

This initiative is designed to give clergy and other religious professionals opportunities for ongoing interaction with legislators and their staffs through the rest of the current legislative session and beyond.

Every Monday at noon (unless otherwise announced) Texas Impact staff and faith or policy leaders will have a conversation at the First United Methodist Church Murchison Chapel. This conversation will also be made available by Facebook Live, webinar and podcast. Search for Texas Impact Weekly Witness in iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

During Session, we will have an “issue of the week” followed by a legislative briefing and Action Alert from Texas Impact staff. Participants will be encouraged to walk to the Capitol after, or make a telephone call to their legislators Monday afternoon.

We hope you’ll join us for Weekly Witness Mondays, especially during Session live or in person. For those not in Austin, consider bringing a group from your congregation, friend network or judicatory. Let us know you are coming, and we can plan on spending some extra time with you that afternoon.

Contact Outreach Director Scott Atnip for more information at scott@texasimpact.org.

Upcoming Issues:

  • February 11 – Foster Care and Domestic Violence
  • February 18 – Voting
  • February 25 – Religious Freedom
  • March 4 – Health: Medicaid Expansion and Insurance Market

More Information here.

New Story Festival

 

 

 

 

 

A Bold Experiment in Making a Better Story for a Better World

Embodying Creativity, Spirituality, Social Action, & Playful Connection

with

Music, Art, and Stories

Inspiring Speakers and Practical Workshops

Laughter and Dancing, Mindfulness and Meditation

Intimate Conversations and New Friends

Amplifying the good work of ACTIVISTS, ARTISTS, NON-PROFITS,

HAEALTH/WHOLENESS PRACTIONERS, AND FAITH COMMUNITIES

In Central Texas and beyond

Hosted by Huston-Tillotson University

https://www.newstoryfestival.com/

NADIA BOLZ-WEBER, REV. ANGEL KYODO WILLIAMS, CHARLES EISENSTEIN, CARRIE RODRIGUEZ,

BRIAN MCLAREN, AMPARO GARCIA-CROW, and more

2019 Austin MLK Program and March

MLK1

On January 21, a group of hearty MFSA supporters joined in to participate in the MLK Day program on the UT campus.  Then some of our group joined hundreds who walked to the campus of Huston-Tillotson University for additional activities.

 

 

Peoples Climate Movement March

https://peoplesclimate.org/rise/?source=tagged&referrer=group-nrdc

Join us on Saturday, September 8 at a Peoples Climate Movement march near you! Learn more and RSVP today.

WHAT: Peoples Climate Movement, Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice marches

WHEN: Saturday, September 8, 2018 *please note, some marches are taking place on different dates

WHERE: A city or town near you (find the closest event here)

This important march will come after a summer that saw record heat waves, historic wildfires, massive flooding, and countless other impacts from worsening climate change. This summer, the effects of climate change are not so subtle.

The September 8 marches will take place just four days before the start of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

So, in the lead up to this pivotal event — a moment that could change the face of and the fight for climate action — it’s especially important to stand together and show our elected officials that we will continue fighting for a just and sustainable future to protect the health and well-being of generations to come.

Sign up for a Peoples Climate Movement march near you on September 8.

Whether you’ll be with us at the flagship march in San Francisco or at a sister march in your city or town, September 8 will be an opportunity to show the administration, fossil fuel companies, and their allies in Congress that we are resilient, we are resolute, and we won’t allow them to destroy the progress we’ve made in combating climate change. We hope to see you there!

Common Ground for Texans

“Advocating positive solutions through civil engagement”

At our next meeting, on Saturday, Sept. 8, join us for a discussion with Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, the head county official for elections.  A new voting system called ExpressVote was recently approved by Travis County Commissioners and is expected to be ready by November 2019.  Learn about this system’s features and why it was selected.

In a recently published report, Texas earned a grade of “D” for election security. How will the new system affect this grade, and what else can we do to improve it?  What are the risks we face this year from election hacking?  Come and listen to Dana DeBeauvoir explain her perspective on these issues.

Election Security in Texas

When: Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library, 7051 Village Center Dr, Austin, TX 78731 (map)

We hope to see you there!

The event is sponsored by Common Ground for Texans, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Austin.

Austin Interfaith

Central Texas Interfaith

Action Agenda Assembly

Sunday, September 9th 2:00 – 4:00 pm

St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 8724 Travis Hills Dr., Austin TX 78735

 

Central Texas Interfaith is an initiative of Austin Interfaith, an alliance of 37 congregations, public schools, labor unions, and social service agencies in Central Texas.  Our purpose is to train leaders to organize their communities around addressing common concerns such as poor street conditions, living wage jobs, and access to health care.

At this assembly, we will develop our agenda of actionable issues based on concerns raised in small group discussions across Western Travis County that will guide our organizing efforts and a non-partisan voter engagement campaign. If you have an interest in working with your neighbors to advance practical political solutions to common issues, please join us!

A light meal will be provided. Please RSVP: cleal.austininterfaith@gmail.com or 210.508.8516

Texas Freedom Network

2018 RMN Convocation

After much anticipation, it is with joy that we are able to share that we have a new location for For Everyone Born – 2018 Convocation!

Join us and hundreds of other United Methodists at the St. Louis Airport Hilton in St. Louis, MO on July 26-29.

It will be a powerful experience to gather so close to the site of the 2019 General Conference as we work for justice and dream about what it means to be a church that is “For Everyone Born.”

We look forward to being able to share the agenda and registration with you soon, but until then, plan to see us in St. Louis! https://rmnetwork.org/event/for-everyone-born/

From Texas Impact

Texas Impact is honored to receive a national award for our “Mainstream Not Extreme” campaign opposing discriminatory “bathroom privacy” legislation in 2017 and we want to thank you for your leadership in this effort!

Y’all Means All Friends,

You made thousands of telephone calls, hundreds of legislative visits and had 500 Texans of faith show up on a hot August day to oppose the discriminatory bathroom legislation. Faith leaders showed up on the steps of the Capitol, in television interviews and in commercials, which you shared with your networks. And because of your hard work and activism, you won-the Texas Legislature did not pass the harmful bills.

Now, your work has been recognized nationally, as the Religion Communicators Council of North America has awarded Texas Impact with the prestigious DeRose-Hinkhouse award, recognizing excellence in religious communications and public relations.

And while Texas Impact’s name may be on the award, we recognize that we could not have done it without your work. So, thank you.

www.texasimpact.org

Become a Justice-Seeking Congregation!

Last summer MFSA piloted a new opportunity for congregations to declare their commitment to intersectional movements for justice and connect with our justice-seeking witness.  As Justice Seeking Congregations covenant to call themselves, their congregations and the church to expand its understanding of the call of the Gospel to be the inclusive, anti-racist/anti-oppressive, justice seeking, risk taking Body of Christ.  They live out our belief that to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be involved in the transformation of the world.  They believe transformation is possible and hold these values as we seek sacred change in our congregations, communities, denomination and our world.  Watch Rev. Lydia Munoz, MFSA Board Member and Lead Pastor of Church of the Open Door UMC in Eastern Pennsylvania share why her congregation felt called to become a Justice-Seeking Congregation here.

Join the movement today.  Become a Justice-Seeking Congregation today!

http://mfsaweb.org/wp-content/uploads/MFSA%20Justice%20Congregations.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4b8dd9bb-02f0-4320-b86b-e8e4da5a6bc8

ACLU Membership Conference June 10-12

You belong at the 2018 ACLU Membership Conference!

Come learn and be inspired, and become an even more effective advocate for freedom. Taking place June 10-12 in Washington, D.C., the Membership Conference is an extraordinary opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with fellow ACLU members from around the country and to hear from guest speakers like:

  • Representative John Lewis, member of Congress and former Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC);
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren, member of Congress;
  • Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund;
  • Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter;
  • Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Don’t wait! Register now and enjoy an early bird discount of $100.

See you at the 2018 ACLU Membership Conference!

From Grassroots Leadership

Austin Advocates Call For Release Of Detained Migrant Woman

“Officials at Grassroots Leadership — an Austin-based national organization working against prison profiteering, mass incarceration and deportation — will ask Williamson County Commissioners Court members to intervene on behalf of an immigrant woman facing extreme hardship at a county detention center.

The group is acting on behalf of Laura Monterrosa, an asylum seeker from El Salvador being detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, which in actuality is a detention center for immigrant women. Advocates say the woman’s mental and physical health continue to decline after she was driven to attempt suicide at the detention center in early January. Monterrosa has spent nearly nine months at the detention center where she previously spoke out about being sexually assaulted by a guard.

Since her outcry, the woman has been subjected to what Grassroots Leadership officials say is a pattern of retaliation — including being placed in solitary confinement for 60 hours earlier this month in what her advocates say was vengeance for her outcry.”

Actions this Weekend:

Sunday, (2/25) 3-5 PM, T. Don Hutto Detention Center: Laura remains under constant threat of solitary confinement and other forms of retaliation.  Sunday we’ll gather outside the detention center to visit with Laura in the largest mass visitation event yet!  Let’s protect Laura with our presence and show the growing support from her community to pressure ICE for her release.

 

Bring the Fight to Williamson County Commissioners

Tuesday, (2/27) 9 AM, Williamson County Commissioners Court: Last week we testified to County Commissioners asking them to take urgent action to intercede on Laura’s case or provide 90 day notice to pull out of the detention center contract.  As party to the contract with private prison company CoreCivic and ICE, Williamson County is liable for the many rights abuses that take place in Hutto: from sexual assault to labor violations.  Laura remains detained, so we will be back to communicate the urgency that Commissioners act immediately.

Protests Planned Against Gun Violence

Washington DC March & Rally

Organizers of a rally against mass shootings planned for next month in Washington are expecting up to 500,000 attendees, according to an event permit application.

The application filed this week with the National Park Service indicates the “March for Our Lives” will be March 24, although a location hasn’t been determined. The rally, organized by survivors of last week’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., will have “sister marches” in other major cities, organizers said.

The event will include “student speakers, musical performers, guest speakers and video tributes,” according to the permit application, with 14 Jumbotrons and 2,000 chairs.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said that organizers initially proposed holding the event on the Mall but are looking at moving the rally to another location in Washington after the request conflicted with a film crew’s permit.

[A superintendent threatens to suspend students protesting gun laws. But that’s not legal.]

We’ve had enough. Thoughts and prayers” are not enough to honor the victims of gun violence. What we need now is action.

On March 24, 2018, students will rally in Washington D.C and in local communities across the country to demand action from our leaders. Join us in the March For Our Lives, as we fight for an America that is free from gun violence.

http://act.everytown.org/sign/march-for-our-lives

 

Protest Rally in Dallas Planned for May 3

At NRA Annual Meeting

More Information to come …

 

What Have Your Donations Supported?

Donations to MFSA support our mission to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive United Methodist movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace, and reconciliation.  Our programs and activities in 2017 included the following:

Within the Annual & General Conferences

  • Co-sponsored the 7th Annual Peace & Justice Luncheon at Annual Conference in Corpus Christi in June 2017 featuring John Hill, Assistant General Secretary for Advocacy and Grassroots Organizing for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.
  • Witnessed with a booth at Annual Conference including education on social justice issues.
  • Partnered with the conference Reconciling Ministries Team to support full inclusion in the UMC.
  • Reported progress of the Commission on the Way Forward through monthly newsletter.

Local Activities and Programs

  • Provided educational programs about social justice issues and opportunities for participation with an emphasis on creating a culture of nonviolence.
  • Supported justice & faith organizations such as Austin Interfaith, Texas Impact, TCADP, Texas Gun Sense, and Austin Region JFON & San Antonio JFON with donations.
  • Sponsored a successful recycling event for hazardous waste; batteries, oil, paint, and antifreeze.
  • Participated in MLK March in Austin.
  • Witnessed at the Texas State Capitol supporting LGBT rights, education, and women’s rights.
  • Supported Ugandan women and children by selling BeadforLife products at Alternative Christmas Markets in Austin.

Looking Ahead in 2018

  • March in the Austin MLK March, which happened on January 15.
  • Offer BOPA (Batteries, Oil, Paint, & Antifreeze) recycling event, March 10 at Trinity Church Austin.
  • Sponsor a fact-finding trip to the Rio Grande Valley to learn about services available for victims of human trafficking and for people seeking asylum in the US.
  • Witness with Reconciling Ministries Network at the Rio Texas UMC Annual Conference in Corpus Christi in June and organize our Annual Peace & Justice Luncheon- June 6-9.

Other Witness, Actions, and Events throughout 2018.

News from Texas Impact

 Texas Impact Joins Interfaith Coalition
in Amicus Brief to 5th Circuit on SB 4

Immigrants across Texas are withdrawing from religious and community life for fear of being targeted by immigration officials and putting their children in jeopardy.

Read More


Join Women from Across Texas to Engage Issues That Matter!Registration is Now Open for
United Methodist Women’s Legislative Event

JANUARY 28-30, 2018, Austin, Texas

Register by January 6, 2018 for the early-bird registration price.

Women ages 15-35 may qualify for a scholarship. Registration Form