Hidalgo County Young Democrats successfully host the first in a series of several membership recruitment drives. Read more about their plan to increase membership in 2015 by 100 new people:
As news of gun violence permeates American media yet again, we find ourselves back to discussing gun laws, ways to curb such violence, and are often left wondering if there is anything we can do. Before we go any further, let us never forget those who have gone before us due to gun violence. Whether it was two news reporters, patrons at a movie theater, or children simply going to school, keeping their memory alive is the greatest tribute as well as the greatest force to push for real change.
Last week, 30 energetic and passionate young Democrats from across Texas traveled to Los Angeles, California to participate in the 2015 Young Democrats of America (YDA) National Convention. Folks from Dallas, Austin, Houston, Midland, San Antonio, and McAllen headed for the west coast for three and a half days of trainings, party building, and the election of our national officers.
Last night, I attended a wonderful gathering of local women where Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, Texas A&M University-San Antonio President, was the keynote speaker. As one of but a few female university presidents, she reminded us of the powerful and unique impact women leaders have within our communities, and that this impact is bolstered by equitable education and employment.
My paternal grandmother, Geraldine Muriel Danzer Beer, was born in Brooklyn in 1920. Everybody called her Gerry, but I called her Grandma. Grandma had been working on behalf of women and children since the late sixties, but when a friend called to relay a comment that a councilwoman made about preferring to fund an animal shelter over a battered women's shelter because she didn't want to break up families, Gerry got to work building a coalition of men and women who wanted to help domestic abuse victims. Some people called her pushy or abrasive. Others said she was just a bored middle-aged housewife, but in spite of what anyone said or thought about it, my grandmother founded The Family Place, Dallas's first battered women's shelter, in 1979.
Hey there, Young Democrats! My name is Kolby Duhon and I have the honor of serving as your new Membership Director of the Texas Young Democrats. I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce myself to all of you so that we can make meaningful progress toward our shared goal of expanding membership across our great state, and enriching the experience of our current members. I want each of you to know that should you have any questions or concerns about how to start a new chapter or how to build membership in your current chapter, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or any of my incredible fellow board members here at TYD to let us know of any way we can assist your efforts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 7th, 2015
Last night, in the first presidential debate of the 2016 elections, we got an up-close look at the conservative ideology of the new Republican Party. Participants discussed issues ranging from war and foreign policy to God, but one particular question struck a nerve.
Of the three moderator panel selected by Fox News, only one moderator was female - Fox and Friends' contributor Megyn Kelly. Honestly, I'm not a fan or follower of Megyn's, and I'm certainly not a regular viewer of the Fox and Friends Hour - but she does her job, and last night, she did a FANTASTIC job. She was clear and concise. She was pointed and focused, and even when the rhetoric of male candidates threatened to interrupt her, she continued her statement without faltering. Then, this morning after the debate, something else became clear - even conservative women are not immune to attacks from conservative men. If Ms. Kelly, a beautiful, blonde, white, conservative woman widely viewed to be the Republican ideal, can be subjected to this sort of treatment, what does that mean for the rest of us?
Early in the debate, Megyn confronted Trump about his habit of insulting women on social media and live television, calling them dogs, sluts and other names. He attempted to interrupt with a quip at Rosie O'Donnell and then said he was "just having fun" while gently reminding Ms. Kelly that he's "been nice to her when he didn't have to be." After the debate, Trump told reporters that he thought Megyn "behaved very badly." The attacks didn't stop there - between the hours of 2:30 am and 4:30 am, Trump sent out a flurry of hateful tweets and retweets from followers calling Megyn "a bimbo" and "overrated." Meanwhile, Donald Trump is still leading the polls in Republican support, and there's a deafening silence among other GOP candidates on this topic.
Make no mistake, there's nothing new or shocking about Mr. Trump's treatment of women or the conservative principles that fuel it. We've seen evidence in Republican healthcare policies, attacks on women's programs, and the refusal to acknowledge a pay gap for women. For conservative women, what happened to Megyn Kelly should be a wake up call. There's no more debate and no more speculation- this is the very definition of misogyny. Women of both parties should not tolerate it. Megyn should not tolerate it, and I will not tolerate it.
As an executive officer of the Texas Young Democrats, a woman, a mother, and an activist, I'm appalled by Donald Trump. We at the Texas Young Democrats condemn his misogynistic commentary and actions and will continue to fight so that women are no longer the punch line of a sexist joke. We believe strongly that all women are valuable and respected voices in our community, and we will continue to lift those voices.
And I, for one, will not behave.
Texas Young Democrats
Since its inception in 1916, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been a leading voice for reproductive rights, affordable healthcare, and the advocating of pro choice legislation at all levels of government. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, women and families have been able to receive vital, affordable healthcare all over the country. Though many have disagreed with Planned Parenthood’s policies, as of late, officials at every level of government have actively increased their plight to defund or totally close this community health organization. Most recently, the United States Senate voted on a measure to begin the complete federal defunding of Planned Parenthood. Thankfully it did not pass. Though these problems may seem on a scale much larger than ourselves, we can take action to support Planned Parenthood.
Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the legacy of President Johnson- legislation that has been largely recognized as the most influential civil rights law enacted in our country’s modern history.
In 50 years, we have come a long way on issues of equality. Segregation was outlawed, voting rights were demanded by citizens of color and members of our LGBT communities (and allies) fought for and won their right to marry the ones they love.
Even still, SCOTUS changed the landscape of the fight for equal rights two years ago when it gutted Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, making way for new laws with potential to discriminate against minority citizens, namely African-Americans, Latinos, and the elderly or disabled.
Immediately following that ruling states, including Texas, began enforcing laws that were previously found to be discriminatory under the once beating heart of the VRA. As a result, minority, student, and low income voters are now subject to unfair voting practices such as Voter ID and campus voting restrictions.
Then just yesterday the conservative U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Texas' Voter ID law was in fact found to be unconstitutional and discriminatory. However, Governor Greg Abbott will keep using state tax payers' money to fight FOR a law that disenfranchises Texans by appealing the case once again.
This is simply unacceptable. It’s un-American, and Congress must take action.
Texas Young Democrats plan to fight these discriminatory practices with all we've got.
Make no mistake about it... Tea Party Republicans want to see the VRA fail in its entirety. They know that with the hateful rhetoric their candidates are spewing each day, they cannot win the minority vote. So they result to dirty tactics and do everything in their power to keep minority constituencies from showing up to the polls on Election Day.
But we won’t stand idly by.
By acting now, you are declaring that you won’t stand for discrimination in your home state any longer.
Together, with your help and the help of our leaders in Washington and at home, we can tear down the walls that prevent our citizens from exercising their most basic of rights- to participate in the democratic process.
The time to fight is now. Will you jump in?
Texas Young Democrats
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 5th, 2015
Today, a three judge panel of the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Texas voter ID law. The panel noted that the law had a “discriminatory effect” on the people’s right to vote in Texas.
The current law passed during the 82nd Legislative Session in 2011, championed by then state-senator and current Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, was a way to crack down on “rampant” voter fraud. However, the law has undergone a tumultuous history, coming under fire from groups arguing that the law promotes discrimination based on race and socio-economic status. In 2014, US District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi struck down the law noting that it was equal to a “poll tax” on citizens here in Texas. Her ruling was eventually overruled citing the Supreme Court’s ending of preclearance, a clause of the Civil Rights Act that required some states to gain federal permission before altering voting laws. Today’s decision by the 5th Circuit Court ruled out that it was a “poll tax”.
Stated in a press release from Governor Abbott’s office, “In light of ongoing voter fraud, it is imperative that Texas has a voter ID law that prevents cheating at the ballot box. Texas will continue to fight for its voter ID requirement to ensure the integrity of elections in the Lone Star State.” As we have seen in the past, the final status of this law can still change.
Fighting the courts requires attorneys, court motions, and work from many individuals with legal experience. This is a very costly endeavor. Since becoming Attorney General of Texas in 2002, Greg Abbott prosecuted two cases of voter ID fraud. As taxpayers, we foot the bill for these investigations and their processes. As schools continue to get defunded, state employees not being paid adequately in today’s economy, and benefits being torn away from working families, the Texas Young Democrats stand in support of the 5th Circuit Court. The organization stands with Congressman Marc Veasey of Ft. Worth and other community leaders in urging Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton to not appeal the court’s ruling.
The law was struck down on the day before the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6th, 1965.
Matthew De Waal
Texas Young Democrats