Organizers in Texas are engaged in a “Summer of Resistance,” asking other states and organizations for help in boycotting Texas’ anti-immigrant legislation.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has barred state and city-funded travel to Texas after the Texas state legislature passed laws allowing foster and adoptive agencies to discriminate against LGBT people. Texas is the most recent addition to a list of eight states that California has brought to task for similar legislative attacks on civil rights. But Texas’ attention isn’t focused exclusively on the LGBT community; they’re cracking down on immigrant rights as well. Texas has lead ten other states in pressuring the US Government to rescind DACA, which allows younger undocumented immigrants to work in the country without fear of deportation.
Texas also recently passed SB4, which allows for a greater use of resources for implementing stricter immigration enforcement policies. Dona Kim Murphey, a physician and community organizer in Texas who started Pantsuit Republic, believes that, while California’s action is a triumph, the scope of the ban should grow to include anti-immigrant legislation. She has contacted Becerra’s office, but a conversation has not yet taken place.
Murphey has worked closely with RITA in Houston in encouraging others to follow California’s lead and boycott Texas cities and businesses that cooperate with discriminative laws like SB4 and SB5. She believes that a financial boycott will have the greatest impact and, since posting a video discussing these issues (embedded below), she heard that several organizations are debating relocating large, lucrative conferences originally planned to be held in Texas. You can get involved by filling out this form.
While Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has declared Houston a “welcoming city,” this sentiment is worded as such to avoid taking a firm stance on the issue. Another organization that Murphey works with, United We Dream, drafted a 120-page document along with other groups in Houston suggesting decisive actions that can be taken to ensure that being a “welcoming city” isn’t allowed to remain political rhetoric. She suggests this document be used as a template for other groups to help hold their officials accountable.
Murphey believes that progress within counties can lead to powerful movements, and that by holding all officials accountable, even county commissioners, real change can be affected. Harris County in Texas went blue last election, which was unprecedented, and which Murphey credits to the mobilization of many progressive grassroots groups: “In a representative democracy, the most robust change comes from the bottom up.”