Austin

Jan 9, 2018
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Austin American-Statesman

Activists calling for improvements to Austin police’s body camera policies

"In its first meeting of 2018, Austin’s Public Safety Commission on Monday discussed opportunities to improve the Police Department’s body-worn camera policy. Austin police began rolling out body-worn cameras to patrol officers in three stations throughout the city in October. By the end of 2017, officers stationed in east, south and central Austin had been outfitted with the devices.

[...] Chris Harris, of the local organization Grassroots Leadership, told the commission that it is important to consider who the body-worn camera policy really works for, and said that in its current form, it is stacked in favor of police." Read more about Activists calling for improvements to Austin police’s body camera policies

Dec 14, 2017
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Austin American-Statesman

Austin council votes to send police contract back to negotiating table

'"We have to have something different in place in this town. The time is now,' local activist Chris Harris said. 'This is only once every five years. If we don’t do it now, many of you won’t have another opportunity. So this is your chance, and I really implore you to take it.'

Harris called on the council to recognize that those who spoke against the contract included not just criminal justice advocates, but people who work in public health, mental health, academia, environmental issues and more who came to the council with the message: 'We must vote down this contract. We must begin to rethink public safety in this town in a new way,' he said." Read more about Austin council votes to send police contract back to negotiating table

Dec 13, 2017
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KXAN

Big crowd expected as Austin city council debates APD contract

"Austin police could find out as early as Wednesday if they will have a new contract to work under. A big crowd is expected at City Hall in the afternoon — to call on city council to scrap the entire contract all together.

More than 15 activist groups are asking council to not vote on this deal and rethink it.

'So we want to invest more in the root causes of public safety and that includes things like  mental health services, treatment centers, counseling, youth programs, all up and down the chain and right now we feel we are over allocating to the police,' says Chris Harris, campaign coordinator with Grassroots Leadership." Read more about Big crowd expected as Austin city council debates APD contract

Dec 6, 2017
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News 4 San Antonio

Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

"A group of immigration supporters are on their way home after trying to stop the deportation of a man seeking asylum.

They came to San Antonio on Wednesday to plead his case.

Around a couple dozen supporters braved the cold and the rain to voice their support for Alirio Gamez.

'As a community we should get to decide who is a part of our communities,' said Claudia Munoz, a supporter who traveled from Austin to San Antonio. 'That's the message we're bringing to ICE.'" Read more about Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

Dec 5, 2017
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Houston Chronicle

Caravan supports immigrant seeking church sanctuary in Austin

"It has been three months since Salvadoran immigrant Alirio Gámez claimed sanctuary from deportation by entering a north Austin church.

On Wednesday, Gámez will step out of the First Unitarian Universalist Church for the first time to ask for a deportation stay. Faith leaders and members of the Austin Sanctuary Network will then lead a caravan from Austin to San Antonio to file a stay of removal application and meet with ICE officials.

'We are telling ICE to respect my right to safety,' Gámez said in a press release. 'We are going to show ICE our strength in unity, and we expect to have a victory in our hands."' Read more about Caravan supports immigrant seeking church sanctuary in Austin

Dec 5, 2017
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North Austin Patch

Advocates Call On Deportation Halt For Austin Asylum Seeker

"Dozens of immigrant advocates will gather on Wednesday in a rally calling for a stop on deportation proceedings against an asylum seeker taking sanctuary at an Austin church for the past few months.

The gathering is designed as a show of solidarity for Alirio Gámez, who has taken sanctuary inside the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., to avoid his deportation. An asylum seeker from El Salvador, Gámez was denied asylum in the United States after being in three detention centers and now faces deportation to certain harm in his country of origin, advocates said.

... 'We are going to demand that Alirio stay in the country and be granted a stay of removal,' added Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrant advocacy group. 'We have built a network that supports him and is enriched by him. Because of this, we also believe that ICE has no authority to come into our city and deport anyone from our community.'" Read more about Advocates Call On Deportation Halt For Austin Asylum Seeker

Nov 10, 2017
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Austin Chronicle

Activists Out to Derail Police Contract

Grassroots Leadership and local coalition partners are advocating to end meet-and-confer negotiations between the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association. We have hosted forums in districts 5 and 9 to educate the public about the broken contract and the need for city council members to vote 'no' on the contract. "Really, the goal is to get people in those districts to understand the issue, and more specifically to tie it to the role the union contract plays into the issue of police brutality and misconduct," said Chris Harris of Grassroots Leadership. "Then for them to go their to council members, because ultimately the Council is going to decide what happens." Read more about Activists Out to Derail Police Contract

Nov 2, 2017
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Telemundo

Con un altar de muertos activistas locales honraron a inmigrantes fallecidos

"El jueves, varios activistas se unieron a miembros de la comunidad para participar en una celebración del Día de los Muertos en honor de a todos aquellos que perdieron la vida en su intento por llegar a los Estados Unidos.

Los organizadores del evento recalcaron su compromiso con todos aquellos que se sienten vulnerables a la deportación. Entre ellos estaba Claudia Muñoz, quien enfrenta una orden de deportación.

'Grassroots Leadership en los siguientes días va a darle una propuesta a los concejales, en relación a política local. Esta propuesta de política local da recomendaciones de cómo deben de interactuar los policías después de que se hace un arresto y también como limitar los arrestos contra la comunidad indocumentada', dijo Muñoz." Read more about Con un altar de muertos activistas locales honraron a inmigrantes fallecidos

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