SATURDAY: Advocates to gather at Texas Capitol for remembrance of nearly 200 incarcerated Texans and 20 prison staff who have died of COVID-19

October 22, 2020

Formerly incarcerated people, prisoners’ families, and elected officials will call on Texans to vote and continue advocacy to increase parole during the pandemic

AUSTIN — On Saturday, October 24th, formerly incarcerated people, prisoners’ families, criminal legal reform groups, and elected officials will gather in Austin for a remembrance of the almost 200 people who have died in Texas prisons this year due to COVID-19.

Advocates from across the state will gather in front of the Texas Capitol to read the names of those who have died in Texas prisons. They will be joined by elected officials including Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar.  So far during the pandemic, 161 incarcerated people and 20 TDCJ staff have died due to COVID-19 with an additional 37 deaths of incarcerated under investigation. 

Several of the prisoners who passed away in TDCJ custody were already approved for parole but were mandated to take a class prior to release. They died from Covid-19 while awaiting their chance to go home. These classes can be taken at home where they are safer.

Who: Formerly incarcerated Texans, family members of incarcerated people, & elected officials including Austin City Councilmember Greg Casar.  

What: Remembrance of those who have died due to COVID-19 in Texas prisons, call to action for Texans to vote and for action to speed the release of prisoners from TDCJ. 

Where: Folks will gather in Wooldridge Park at 1pm before marching by the Texas Governor’s Mansion for speakers and returning to Wooldridge park for ceremony honoring those who have lost their lives from COVID-19 in TDCJ.

When: Saturday, October 24th, 1-5pm

1pm: Gathering at Wooldridge Park before march to Governor’s mansion

1:40pm: Speakers at Governor’s Mansion

2:45pm: Ceremony to honor those who have been lost at Wooldridge Park

Quote from Lovinah Igbani, organizer of rally: “We stand and will continue to fight for those who are locked up in Texas prisons — the innocent bystanders, dying at the hands of TDCJ and the inhumane conditions they are forced to live in. America should be outraged that human beings are being subjected to TDCJ’s negligence in response to this pandemic.”   

Quote from Jorge Renaud, SW Region Director of Policy and Advocacy at LatinoJustice: “We are lifting our voices for those who have died as a result of the failure of Gov. Abbott and TDCJ officials to recognize the humanity of incarcerated people and the staff who care for them. Their deaths were preventable except for official apathy and neglect.”  

Participating organizations include LatinoJustice, Grassroots Leadership, The Young and The Politics, Restorer of City Streets, Breaking Chains, Texas Advocates for Justice, The Revolution, CELLLife, Behind the Bricks, and the Real Housewive of TDCJ.

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