WRITE: Here’s an easy guide

Many of us are looking for ways to influence others—not the 30% who are conservative zealots, but Independents and those who are open to hearing new ideas.

One way to do this is to write letters to the editor or to write articles to publish on community blogs or newsletters. This guide from the Center for Community Change provides an easy-to-follow template for crafting an effective letter or article. It suggests we start with our shared values, then clearly differentiate progressive values from conservative values, and espouse a vision.

If you have questions, need assistance, or write something you’d like to see published on this blog, please email it to tx21hillcountry@gmail.com or leave a comment here.

Cat Yuraka, organizer of Resistance Choir, receives Activist of the Year!


Last night at the TX21 Indivisible Birthday Party, the winner of the Ashley McAllen Activist of the Year Award was selected: Cat Yuraka of San Marcos! Cat is the organizer of the Resistance Choir of South Central Texas. The choir has performed at many TX21 Indivisible rallies and events in Austin, San Antonio, and the Hill Country.

Cat and the choir performed at the Women’s March in Austin on January 20, a performance featured in this video published by the New York Times (at 1.11 minutes). Cat is an activist extraordinaire and demonstrates by her actions that doing something you love brings success and recognition! Congratulations Cat!

Lamar Smith up to dirty tricks again


US Congressional District 21 Rep. Lamar Smith is up to his dirty tricks again. No, he’s not running for reelection, but he’s not finished with his job manipulating environmental regulations to suit Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

This article from The Intercept details Smith’s ongoing and dangerous war on science. Environmental pollution impacts the health of all us, but particularly children.

Call Lamar today and tell him what you think about this!

Washington, DC: 202-225-4236

San Antonio: 210-821-5024

Austin: 512-912-7508

Kerrville: 830-896-0154

Lamar Smith highly selective on criticism of vulgarity

LamarFrom the San Antonio Express-News, January 21, 2018. Lest we forget why we resist.

To The Honorable Lamar Smith:

Our families were well acquainted before your election. I remember with fondness attending elementary school as a classmate of your daughter. When you were first elected to Congress in 1987, I recall the excitement even among us young students. Those fond memories faded into shame and disgust as I read of your speech on the House floor recently.

You had a lot of harsh words for the media and their use of the exact phrase that President Donald Trump is reported to have used to describe African countries, Haiti and El Salvador. You lamented, “There was a time when the media would show some respect for family values, but no more,” implying that you are a man of high moral standing who would share those family values.

But you spoke not one word condemning Mr. Trump’s comments. Your speech had the sole purpose of enabling our president to use racist views and language in the process of crafting immigration policy. You spoke not one word standing up for American values or the Constitution toward which Mr. Trump has continually shown disdain.

It cannot be denied that Mr. Trump has such disdain. His open push for harsher libel laws are nothing but a transparent move against our beloved freedom of speech and critical freedom of the press, which he lambastes daily. He violates the Constitution through the profit of his Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is frequented by foreign diplomats and dignitaries in order to gain favor with the president. He violates the Constitution by pressuring NFL owners to punish or fire football players who protest him, indicating that they will receive favorable treatment if they do so.

On the topic of Mr. Trump’s reaction to NFL protests, it is one piece in a full puzzle depicting the president’s racism. The most recent example, of course, is his rant against immigrants hailing from what he refers to as “shithole” countries, all of whom all happen to be black and brown, while expressing a preference for immigrants from Norway, who are overwhelmingly white.

One might be able to brush off his stated preference as merely a poorly articulated argument. But there are more than enough other pieces present to portray a clear picture:

His characterization of a neo-Nazi group in Charlottesville as containing “good people.”

His insistence that a judge has no right to hear a case against him because he is of Mexican heritage.

His broad characterization of immigrants from Mexico as rapists and murderers.

His constant advocacy of a “Muslim ban” (his words, not mine) during the campaign, leading to three different attempts at such a ban under a different name.

Finally, his cringe-inducing attempt to point out an African-American for the cameras’ benefit during a rally, with comments like, “Look at my African-American friend over there! Look at him! Aren’t you the greatest?” to prove that he is not racist.

In case you forgot, America was founded on the idea that people could come here when they were not welcome, free or safe in their home countries. It is specifically when a man or a woman faces hardships imposed on them by their government, society or conditions that they have historically heard the call of the American Dream.

If the president’s words and policies are not enough to convince you that he does not hold the American ideal or Constitution dear, just look at leaders he chooses to praise and those he chooses to antagonize. He has expressed great admiration, respect and friendship for dictators like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Vladimir Putin of Russia, while straining relationships with our strongest democratic allies such as the United Kingdom’s Theresa May and Angela Merkel of Germany.

Do you want your legacy to be one of protecting and enabling an anti-American, racist narcissist? Or do you want your legacy to be one of rising above party, above self-interest and serving your country? It is time to choose. What do you want your great-grandchildren to read about you?

Edward O’Malley, a native San Antonian, is founder and CEO of Motiv Engines. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado.

What is GOTV?

Hays Co GOTV

Do you wonder what we mean when we talk about “getting out the vote?” Have you heard about block walking but are turned off by the prospect of knocking on doors?

When we block walk to get out the vote (GOTV), we have a list of people who we know in the past have voted for progressive candidates. We’re knocking on friendly doors. Our goal is to get a commitment to vote, not just for one candidate, but for a full slate of progressive candidates who share our values.

Our ultimate goal is to build a sustainable GOTV infrastructure and to increase voter turnout. It’s about neighbors helping neighbors learn more about candidates and making sure they know where and when to vote. This strategy is far more effective in the long run than having outside groups go into a neighborhood one time and urge people to vote.

You start with your own neighborhood. As you proceed through your neighborhood, you stay alert for people who are willing to help. As you gather helpers, who can service their own streets, you can move to other neighborhoods in your precinct, gathering yet more helpers. Our job is one of knitting together the progressive folks we meet along the way by offering opportunities for them to get to know each other. In this way, we build a network of folks who can encourage other folks to participate in elections at all levels — federal, state, county, city and school board, etc.

To learn more about how to join our GOTV efforts, please look for the guide for your county and contact your precinct chair or county point person. Or leave a comment and we will connect you.

–Special thanks to SRM for her assistance with this article

Let’s Get out the Vote!

New Yorker article

You’re going to start hearing a lot from us about getting out the vote (GOTV). What’s that you ask? It’s contacting progressive voters and encouraging them to, you guessed it, VOTE! This article in the New Yorker tells how Indivisible groups in Alabama helped get out the vote for Doug Jones.

How can you get involved? If you live in Travis, Bexar, Hays or Comal counties, you have established, ongoing GOTV efforts in your county. Look at your voter registration card, find your precinct number, and use our GOTV guides to find your precinct chairs. The primary job of precinct chairs is to get our the vote for their party. We’ve put together GOTV resources, including the guides and a short video from our own GOTV superstar Lynn about an easy way to Work your Circles this holiday season.

If you live in the Hill Country counties of Blanco, Gillespie, Kerr, Kendall or Real, please email tx21hillcountry@gmail.com if you want to hear what we’re up to.

If you have questions, please leave them here in comments.

Call Lamar today! And tomorrow!

Lamar umbrella

Alright y’all, it’s about to get real! The Senate passed the awful Trump Tax Scam. BUT IT’S NOT YET LAW, which means we still have time either to stop it or at least to ameliorate its worst effects. The bill is now going back to conference for reconciliation with the House version, which gives us more time to push back.

To that end, it is imperative that you call Lamar Smith TODAY and tomorrow and let him know how you feel. And if you can make it to an office visit this week, then please do it!

  • Austin, meet at 9:30 am at Lamar’s office, 2211 South IH 35, Suite 106.
  • San Antonio, meet at 9:00 am at Las Chiladas, 2387 NW Military Hwy, before heading to Lamar’s office.
  • Kerrville, meet at 11 am on the north side of the Wells Fargo building, 301 Junction Hwy.

AND join us for a tax protest, Thursday, Dec. 7, 5:30-8:30 at Austin City Hall. Bring signs and get ready to be LOUD!

Here is a brief summary of the Senate bill compared to the House bill. More information about the tax bill here.

Waking up to bad news…

The Senate passed the Trump Tax Scam last night at 2 am by a vote of 51-49. Senator Bob Corker was the only Republican who voted against it.

What now, you ask? National Indivisible posted this summary of next steps for the bill. Please read their post here.

Basically, the House vote could happen as soon as Monday. If it passes, the Congress will immediately move on to funding the government. This is important because the Dream Act is slated to be included in the funding bill.

So it appears we have excellent timing with Jonathan Ryan of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) of San Antonio coming to our Monday evening meeting in Kerrville to speak on the Dream Act. Everyone is invited. It’s at 6 pm, Monday, Dec. 4 at Fuddruckers in Kerrville.

Trump Tax Scam Roadside Theater!

Roadside Theater

Seventy members of TX21 Indivisible and Indivisible Austin created the Trump Tax Scam Roadside Theater yesterday afternoon outside John Cornyn’s Austin office! Watch it here.

Media coverage included Austin television stations and the front page of the Austin American-Statesman’s Metro section—no small feat! This kind of action and press coverage puts pressure on Cornyn. The machinations to get the awful tax bill passed continue. Read about the latest here.

Congrats to our own AP for another brilliant idea for making resistance fun!