Middle school teacher Nancy Cox, right, in yellow
By David Sheridan
Grassroots organizing pays off. More than a thousand activists rallied at the Texas State Capitol to deliver a powerful message in person to the Texas State Legislature and Governor—SB4 is a racist law and we will not stop fighting until it is overturned.
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On the last day of the legislative session, the protesters filled hundreds of seats in the Texas House gallery and after sitting quietly for about 40 minutes, they began to cheer and chant drowning out the legislators. The State house leadership asked state troopers to clear the gallery, and the officers lead the demonstrators out of the chamber peacefully.
Middle school teacher Nancy Cox was there. “I was inside the packed House Gallery, with my fellow protesters, wearing red shirts, and waiting for our cue to begin chanting and unfurling our banners. After we were escorted out, we were met by literally thousands of protesters on all floors of the Capitol rotunda. It was a sea of red, and it was incredibly powerful to witness and be part of.”
— Joe Moody (@moodyforelpaso) May 29, 2017
The demonstrators were chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has to go” and holding banners which read “See you in court” and “See you at the polls.” Their red T-shirts read “Lucha,” or “Fight.” Nancy Cox adds: “This was by far the most impactful rally I have participated in—and I was at the Women’s March.”
When SB4 passed and the Governor signed it into law, Nancy Cox’s students were “devastated,” but they continue to have hope.
— Montserrat Garibay (@MontserratVPEDA) May 30, 2017
Governor Gregg Abbott said that anyone who had not committed a crime had “nothing to fear” from the new law. But that was, as the Texas Observer noted, “counterfactual.” In fact, SB4 allows the police to inquire about a person’s immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops. That is an open invitation for the police to engage in racial profiling. A similar “Show me your papers law” in Arizona was eventually struck down in court.
The Austin demonstration was organized by Education Austin, United We Dream, Worker Defense Project and other community activists. “Beautiful energy is growing in Austin and around the state,” said United We Dream’s Cristina Jiménez Moreta.
“We are going to continue to fight for social justice in Texas,” insists Nancy Cox. “Whether or not this bill actually goes into effect in September, we will fight to get it repealed. We will help progressive leaders get elected, and we will continue to teach social justice in our schools, and empower our students to advocate for themselves and our community.”