Grassroots Leadership Blog

Austin Police say they “did a good job” after violent arrest of woman in crisis

After she went missing Wednesday night, Silva’s parents called EMS to locate her and get her to treatment. Instead of EMS, three APD officers, including a mental health officer, responded to the call. Witnesses reported that she treated aggressively, and was tackled, hit in the back, and hogtied by police. She was then charged with felony assault on a public servant. [node:read-more:link]

Letters from inside: As officials threaten them with transfers, 16 women detained in Hutto speak out

Multiple women have reported that officials inside the detention center say they will send all those separated from their children to a military base somewhere in Texas.

A total of 20 letters were received by Grassroots Leadership organizers on Friday, illuminating the anguish of mothers who remain separated from the children they haven’t seen since asking for asylum at the southern border. [node:read-more:link]

Reunite Families! Hutto Community Deportation Defense & Bond Fund

[mensaje bilingüe]

Whether it’s bonding out a mother so she can be reunited with her child, supporting a hunger strike leader facing solitary confinement, or setting a sexual assault survivor free from her abusive guard’s reach, there are moments of crisis so severe we need to respond instantly. This is one of them. [node:read-more:link]

Welcoming Annette Price as our Texas Advocates for Justice statewide coordinator!

Grassroots Leadership is excited to welcome Annette Price to our Austin staff as our Texas Advocates for Justice statewide coordinator!

Annette was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana and moved to Texas is 2007. She was released from Illinois Department of Corrections in 2005 after serving 20 years and in 2008, was granted an early release from parole. Annette graduated from Grand Canyon University with a double masters in Professional Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling.     [node:read-more:link]

Welcoming Sarai Morales to the Criminal Justice Team

Grassroots Leadership is excited to welcome Sarai Morales as a new Social Work Intern!

Sarai holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Edward’s University and is currently working on a Master’s degree in Social Work at Texas State.

Sarai will be conducting her final field placement at Grassroots Leadership this summer where she will be helping the Criminal Justice Team with research and policy. She is very excited to work with our organization to fight the criminalization of our community, promote justice and advocate for individuals. [node:read-more:link]

This Mother's Day, I'm Fighting to End the Mass Incarceration of Our Children

On a day like today, when everyone is smiling and wishing you a happy Mother's Day, a part of me is not so happy. Today reminds me of the day my son entered a plea deal. Just before he agreed, he looked at me, and my gut was screaming, "Noooo!" Nothing was right.

My son suffered from PTSD after the murder of his brother, my second son. He was the third and last. He got into some serious mischief with a girl that lured him away from me with some Bonnie and Clyde nonsense. They hired a lawyer and he got 6 years, she got 6 days. [node:read-more:link]

I took a tour of the Harris County Jail Mental Health Unit. Here’s what I found.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) operates the nation's fourth-largest jail, with an inmate population approaching 9,000. (Jail Mental Health Initiatives)

     At Grassroots Leadership, we advocate and organize against private prison, detention centers and behavioral health treatment centers.  Diverting those with mental health concerns from the criminal justice system into community treatment programs. Ultimately, those with mental health issues are not diverted but instead forced into a failed criminal and mental health system — especially in Houston, Texas. [node:read-more:link]

Donna Red Wing, Rest in Power

Today, Grassroots Leadership is mourning the loss of Donna Red Wing, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer. 

Donna was Grassroots Leadership's second Executive Director, serving the organization in that capacity between 2010 and 2012. Before that, she was a long-time board member and supporter of the organization.  Donna had a long career as trail-blazing organizer and national figure in the LGBT movement including serving in leadership roles at the Interfaith Alliance, Human Rights Campaign, and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. [node:read-more:link]

What your donation to our work means to us

We are overwhelmed by the support we received during Amplify Austin on Friday. We are happy to share that we met our $10,000 goal. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you! Those donations will ensure that we are able to keep organizing for the long haul and fighting back against criminalization right here in Texas. For example, did you know the Travis County Commissioners Court is actually considering spending $97 million on a new jail? [node:read-more:link]