RELEASE: Texas Civil Rights Project launches new campaign following loss of funding due to the State’s hostility toward civil rights
Monday, September 18, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Zenén Jaimes Pérez, Communications Director
512.474.5073, ext. 116
Austin, TX – For more than a quarter of a century, the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) has gained a reputation for being bold and creative in and out of the courtroom, using litigation, advocacy and public education to advance equality and justice in Texas.
In 2016, Texas Civil Rights Project focused its efforts on protecting and expanding voting rights, challenging injustices in the broken criminal justice system, and advancing racial and economic justice, with a specific focus on immigrants and communities that welcome newcomers. Working with allies across the state, TCRP is deeply ingrained within the rising social justice movement seeking a more inclusive Texas.
This focus has resulted in impressive victories on behalf of Texas communities, including forcing Texas to provide birth certificates to babies born in Texas to undocumented mothers, and launching a Voting Rights Program targeting barriers designed to block millions of Texans from exercising their constitutional right to vote, such as unlawful voter registration processes at the Department of Public Safety.
As lawmakers and state officials become increasingly hostile to civil rights, TCRP’s efforts to create lasting change have sparked a backlash, leading to the abrupt loss of roughly $900,000 to the organization as of September 1st. TCRP had been receiving this funding since 1991.
In response, Texas Civil Rights Project is launching the Fight for Rights Campaign, an effort to replace this lost funding so that it can keep fighting for Texas communities. TCRP seeks to raise $2.2 million to sustain its work for years to come.
Announcing the Fight for Rights Campaign, Executive Director Mimi Marziani, a nationally recognized civil rights attorney, says:
“We cannot back down. Texas is the center of the roll-back on civil rights we are seeing across the country. Instead of pushing back on attacks against immigrants and their families, voting rights, and efforts to reform our broken criminal justice system, Texas officials are falling over themselves to advance an agenda of hate and fear.”
“Let’s be clear about what just happened: our success at holding the people in power accountable led to the loss of our funding. And, I believe we are particularly threatening to the powers-that-be because we are part of a larger movement for equality, justice and human dignity.”
“Fortunately, many individuals and philanthropic institutions in Texas and beyond realize the importance of our work. We are confident that, thanks to the broad base of people who support our mission, we will continue to thrive and to serve Texas’ social justice movements for generations to come.”
“For over 26 years, TCRP has been at the forefront of protecting and expanding civil rights for Texas communities. That bold and effective work will never change. In fact, we are now in a moment where we need to push back hard against people in power both nationally and in our state that are determined to stop any policy change. We are excited to invite our supporters and people across the state to invest in our long-term fight to serve the social justice movement in Texas.”
The campaign, which the group started to organize just weeks ago, has gained quick traction with close to $500,000 raised to date.
The Texas Civil Rights Project uses legal advocacy to empower Texas communities and create policy change. In its twenty-five year history, TCRP has brought thousands of strategic lawsuits, defending voting rights, fighting institutional discrimination, and reforming systems of criminal justice. Today — with dozens of high-caliber attorneys and professionals in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley, and an extensive network of pro bono counsel and community allies — TCRP is among the most influential civil rights organizations in the Lone Star State.