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Unconstitutional? Austin ordinance that criminalizes people experiencing homelessness goes on trial Friday

New research from Grassroots Leadership and Gathering Ground Theater shows there are many people like Gary who are experiencing homelessness and repeatedly ticketed by police, resulting in unhealthy, unsustainable situations

AUSTIN — Gary Bowens has been repeatedly ticketed for having no place to go. Like many people in Austin experiencing homelessness, Gary is subject to regular police enforcement of the local “No Camping” ordinance, which criminalizes people for storing personal belongings in public areas, sleeping in a vehicle, or otherwise appearing to be living in public.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found in Martin v. City of Boise that a similar law in Boise, ID, was in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th amendment prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment because, “It imposes criminal sanctions against homeless individuals for sleeping outdoors, on public property, when no alternative shelter is available to them...”

A new report by Gathering Ground Theater and Grassroots Leadership shows how widespread the problem is in Austin. Unfortunately, Gary’s story is not unique. Among other findings, this new research shows that people experiencing homelessness in downtown experience a high level of criminalization. Read more about Unconstitutional? Austin ordinance that criminalizes people experiencing homelessness goes on trial Friday

TODAY: Rally at 11am in front of Rep. Castro’s San Antonio office calling on him to be a champion for immigrants in sanctuary

SAN ANTONIO —  Members of the San Antonio community will be joining the Austin Sanctuary Network at a rally today at Rep. Joaquín Castro's office calling for discretion sanctuary leadership Alirio Gámez and Hilda Ramirez.    

Who: Hilda Ramirez, Alirio Gámez, San Antonio community members,  the Austin Sanctuary Network, and the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry Read more about TODAY: Rally at 11am in front of Rep. Castro’s San Antonio office calling on him to be a champion for immigrants in sanctuary

Travis County wants to build a new jail, but we need care, not cages.

It’s no secret that the United States has a mass incarceration problem. But, did you know Texas ranks as one of the top five states contributing to this problem? It is time for Texas and Travis County — a progressive community — to lead by example. Travis County continues to jail folks at an alarming rate for low-level drug possession, in fact these charges have increased by 90 percent in the last five years, while crime has decreased. Has it occurred to anyone that we are doing a disservice in our community by not taking a closer look at the root causes of criminal justice involvement? Read more about Travis County wants to build a new jail, but we need care, not cages.

National ‘Chinga La Migra Tour’ Highlights Organizing Against ICE and Travis County’s Role in Deportations

WHAT: Rally and March to Abolish ICE is the 8th stop in the national “Chinga La Migra” (Abolish ICE) campaign led by Mijente. The rally will focus on Travis County’s role in deportations and criminalization of immigrant and US-born communities of color.  
WHO: Grassroots Leadership, Mijente, ICE out of Austin
WHEN:   Friday, September 21 at 9:30 a.m.
Read more about National ‘Chinga La Migra Tour’ Highlights Organizing Against ICE and Travis County’s Role in Deportations

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