Grassroots Leadership Blog

Welcome Our New Young Adult Volunteer!

Jake comes to us as a Young Adult Volunteer. Originally from Clemson South Carolina, Jake studied Spanish and International Health at Clemson University. During this time, he gained a great appreciation for community development, and the desire to work with individuals who have been marginalized by our society. While at Clemson, he began to explore and learn more of the pain and issues that U.S. policy had caused both in Latin America and among Latino communities in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

The mass prosecution of migrants at the border, like mass incarceration, is an #Indefensible failure

Today, we published Indefensible: A decade of mass incarceration of migrants prosecuted for crossing the border with our partners at Justice Strategies.  

Read it online free now. 

Ten years ago, a new policy was named “Operation Streamline.” It is known for mass hearings in which up to 80 migrants are arraigned, found guilty, convicted and sentenced simultaneously for “improper entry,” a misdemeanor. The policy has long been decried by immigrant rights advocates. But the mass hearings, as shocking as they are, are only the tip of the iceberg. Lesser known is the widespread expansion of felony “re-entry” prosecutions and the mass incarceration of migrants that  that came with the Streamline program.

Indefensible is an in-depth investigation into the costs and failures of a decade-old bad idea that has wasted millions of dollars and inflicted an incalculable amount of human suffering. [node:read-more:link]

Welcome Latasha Taylor, our new Mental Health Organizer!

We are happy to welcome Latasha Taylor to the Grassroots Leadership Criminal Justice team as our new Mental Health Organizer!  Through a two-year Peer Policy Fellowship from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Latasha will be supporting the work of the Justice and Mental Health Coalition and Texas Advocates for Justice. [node:read-more:link]

BREAKING: Dimmit County is the latest Texas county to be sold a bill of goods on family detention

Dimmit County leaders are facing the same question that county commissioners in Jim Wells asked themselves earlier this month: Are the legal and financial risks that come with family detention worth it? Widespread opposition from Jim Wells County residents and concerns about financial and legal liability for the local community led county commissioners to wisely reject the proposal. Now, the Dimmit County Commissioners Court has this question on the agenda for their upcoming Monday, June 27 meeting.

Serious legal and financial questions, and the promise of a new president next year means that the family detention policy that fills the facility may not even exist next year. Dimmit County could join the long list of small communities left behind after betting their community’s future on detaining immigrants. [node:read-more:link]

Help fund a crucial training in Austin, Texas!

We need your help! Grassroots Leadership needs to raise $12,000 before July 15th to fund our upcoming Texas Advocates for Justice organizing training in Austin.


Our goal is to bring together 30 formerly incarcerated people — Austin community members who have been locked up in jails, prisons, or immigrant detention centers — and their loved ones to be leaders in the movement to end mass criminalization in Texas.  [node:read-more:link]

Dancing Away Detention is next week, six things to know

The 6th annual Dancing Away Detention benefit show supporting the Hutto Visitation Program is next week on Thursday, June 2 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at El Sol y La Luna at 600 E 6th St. in Austin. Check out who else is going plus fun photos from last year’s event on Facebook. Here are six things to know about this year’s benefit show.

Buy your ticket today (don’t wait, the price goes up the day of the show)


Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition Visits Bexar County

On Wednesday May 11th, members of the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition visited  San Antonio, TX to learn more about Bexar County’s jail diversion programs. Hosted by the Center for Health Care Services (CHCS), the group met with program administrators, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and representatives from mental health and judicial services of Bexar County. [node:read-more:link]