Grassroots Leadership: A year in review

Texas is the most incarcerated state in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more than 1,000 immigration jails separating thousands of people from their loved ones, and a wealthy few profiting from the incarceration of Black, brown, and poor communities. For decades, the solution to dealing with people who are targeted by unjust laws has been incarcerating, punishing, and criminalizing those communities. But all over the country, Black, brown, and poor communities are saying enough is enough.

Since 1980, Grassroots Leadership has been at the forefront of the fight against prison profiteering; and as we approach the new decade, we take this time to reflect on the values we bring with us. Our commitment to grassroots organizing and community building is deeper grounded in our values to build power in our communities, win concrete policy changes, and transform dominant narratives about the immigration enforcement and criminal legal systems. 

Meaningful solutions can only be accomplished by those whose lives have been harmed by the systems of mass incarceration, detention, and deportation. And we know that when people who have been harmed by these systems win, it’s a win for all. 

We believe that the people closest to the problem are the best people for the solution. And in 2019, we put our beliefs into practice. 

  • We brought Travis County to the 21st century by being at the forefront of the creation of an adult public defender’s office

  • We placed homelessness in Austin in the spotlight for no one to ignore and challenged elected officials to invest in real solutions. 

  • We’re holding the Austin Police Department accountable for racially profiling communities of color through the Freedom City policy.

  • We mobilized hundreds of volunteers during the Summer of Raids to protect our communities from ICE. 

  • We’re suing ICE to demand why T. Don Hutto, the largest all-women private prison that jails 512 women seeking asylum, is still open. 

  • We’re building power in our communities through ICE out of Austin, Texas Advocates for Justice, and with women formerly detained at T. Don Hutto. 

  • In August, we held space for communities to reenvision what safety looks like at Night Out for Safety and Liberation

  • In October, we raised more than $5,000 for our Community Bond Fund to support the people detained at T. Don Hutto at our 9th Dancing Away Detention

This #GivingTuesday, consider supporting our work by making a one-time donation or  by becoming a monthly sustainer. 

Thank you for giving and spreading the word, and thank you for believing in our vision for a world without mass incarceration, detention, criminalization, and deportation.

You can make your donation today at or by clicking here.