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Working for Justice: Celebrating Father Les Schmidt's 80th Birthday

Eighty years is a very long time, but for someone who has lived those eighty years dedicated to a fight for social justice, it is not nearly long enough.

This month, we are celebrating the 80th year in the life of Father Leslie Schmidt, a Glenmary priest of humble beginnings, one of twelve children born in a farm in the middle of the country.  A man who very early on decided that he wanted a life worth living; focused on a God of mercy and justice and love.

Father Les, as we all know him, pretty much lives out of his car. In any given month he will travel from Indiana to Virginia, through North and South Carolina, on his way to Georgia, or Mississippi, or maybe Tennessee, wherever he might be needed; living the life of a “regional priest”.  He follows the mission of the Glenmary Catholic society of brothers and priests dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of those living in impoverished counties in the South and Appalachia. He eats food on the go, sleeps in cheap motels, on someone’s couch, the local church or will stay up through the night if he is needed somewhere, and yet, he has the lanky built and the energy of someone a fraction of his age.

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Texas Prison Bid'ness:Welcome new TPB blogger Eshe Cole

Texas Prison Bid'ness is pleased to welcome Eshe Cole to our blogger line-up. Eshe is the new Mental Health and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator at Grassroots Leadership, one of the sponsors of Texas Prison Bid'ness.

TPB Blogger Eshe ColeTPB Blogger Eshe ColeMost recently, Eshe worked as a Program Coordinator for the City of Austin helping to develop a pilot program addressing maternal health disparities for African-American women in Austin/Travis County. She also spent the past few years working with Mamas of Color Rising, a local group of women who organize around various social justice issues pertaining to poor and working class mothers of color.

Originally from Temple, Texas, Eshe attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied Sociology, African-American Studies and most recently received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with such a great group of people fighting against the injustices of the Prison Industrial Complex. I am looking forward to contributing to the critical work at Grassroots and helping to create change that matters.”

Advocacy groups express concerns about tentative contract with GEO Care to operate Terrell State Hospital

Austin, TX -  The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced yestarday that they are awarding a tentative five year contract to GEO Care, a spin off and former subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group, to operate Terrell State Hospital. Texas HHSC hopes to have a decision on whether or not the state will enter a contract by the end of the year. This award comes as a result of a HHSC Request For Proposals (RFP), issued on June 9, 2014. Read more about Advocacy groups express concerns about tentative contract with GEO Care to operate Terrell State Hospital

Grassroots Leadership Stands With Ferguson!

Grassroots Leadership is devastated by the murder of Michael Brown that took place on August 9, 2014. That same month, Ezell Ford, Kajieme Powell, and John Crawford III were also fatally shot under questionable circumstances by police in other parts of the country. These incidents followed the NYPD choke-hold killing of Eric Garner and add to the growing list of both African-American men and women who have died needlessly at the hands of the police. As we speak, tension continues to erupt in Missouri as yet another African-American teen was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer last night, October 8th, in St. Louis.  We encourage all supporters to continue to follow the on-going organizing efforts as well as participate in the upcoming weekend of resistance held in Ferguson October 10-13, 2014.

As a multi-racial, Southern-based organization working for both social justice and for reform of the justice system, we at Grassroots Leadership feel compelled to add our voices to the many in Ferguson, around the country, and around the world, who are appalled by the assault on communities of color in Ferguson, and across the nation.  We are also inspired by the organized response and offer solidarity to those who are leading the response from the ground up. Grassroots Leadership supports the self-determined organizing efforts coming directly from those on the ground in Ferguson.

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