In a move to boost voter turnout among neglected communities, Texas IAF organizations reached into suburbs surrounding Texas’ largest cities to assemble by the thousands in political, nonpartisan assemblies to help leaders wrest commitments from candidates for state and federal office. Having witnessed candidate responses to locally-developed agendas, which span from local control to Texas school finance and federal immigration reform, leaders are now mobilizing their neighbors to Get Out The Vote.
In North Dallas, for example, two thousand DAI leaders -- many from Carrollton and Farmers Branch -- invited candidates for House Districts 114, 115, 105 and 107, and Congressional District 32, to commit to investing public funds in local labor market intermediaries, crafting immigration reform that would end the separation of children from their parents at the border (and include protections for DACA youth), cracking down on predatory lending, and repealing Senate Bill 4. Hundreds more from Austin and Hayes County challenged candidates for US Congressional Districts 25 and 21, and State House Districts 47, 45 and 136 to publicly pledge support for similar priorities, including the defense of local control over municipal housing and labor policy. In Helotes, just outside of San Antonio, COPS / Metro leaders carted out boxes with thousands of postcard pledges by voters to participate in the election of US Representative for Congressional District 23, which extends to the outskirts of El Paso, and State Representative for House Districts 117 and 118. In Houston, TMO organized assemblies with candidates for US Congressional District 7 and 29; House Districts 144, 133, and 135; and Senate District 17.
Already, unpaid armies of organizational leaders have knocked on thousands of doors and called thousands more to remind supporters and voters to participate in the midterm elections. Last weekend, for example, Austin Interfaith leaders knocked on doors in three counties, four legislative districts and 2 congressional districts. This weekend, all Texas IAF organizations are making a final push -- from the pews, inside health clinics and in long-neglected neighborhoods -- to ensure the highest turnout possible in support of their agenda.
Leaders understand that targeted voter engagement efforts following accountability assemblies help advance their agenda. This year alone, local Texas IAF organizations succeeded in raising municipal wage floors in San Antonio and Austin to $15 per hour; leveraging the support of Chief of Police Art Acevedo to make Houston the first city in Texas to support a gun safety strategy; and preventing unnecessary deportations through widespread adoption of identification cards generated by parishes within the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Candidates Share Platform at Assembly, Austin American Statesman
Why Dallas Republicans Skipped an Interfaith Forum, Rewire.News
DAI Accountability Forum [Video]
Shari Reilly appealed to the Catholic faith shared with King when she asked him to take a more "humanitarian approach" to the unaccompanied children arriving from Mexico and Central America. On behalf of AMOS she invited the Congressman to a public assembly to be held in September at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.Read more
"Don't send them back as if they were animals," argued Fr. Walter D'Heedene of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Speakers underscored that each child should have an attorney, get thorough processing (accorded in the 2008 Wilberforce Act) and have more exposure to vetted religious and social service organizations so that they do not become isolated.Read more
In defiance of legislative efforts to denude the Trafficking Victims Act of 2008 of legal protections for unaccompanied minors, Dallas Area Interfaith congregations and bishops called on the White House and Congress to do the opposite: to ensure legal protections for children arriving on our border and stop speed processing of children through immigration courts.Read more
In a presentation to the Travis County Commissioners Austin Interfaith described the arrival of unaccompanied children a humanitarian crisis that requires a thoughtful and proactive response. Specifically they are asking the County to coordinate the use of public buildings to temporarily house children before they are sent to relatives or a foster family and wait for their day in immigration court.Read more