During this critical legislative session, we urge state leaders to collaborate on policy that will ensure a Texas where we are free to choose, free to act, free to dream, and free to envision a future of prosperity. Guided by intersectional core values rooted in gender justice, we envision a future for young leaders of color where they have autonomy to reach their full potential through:
Freedom From Violence
#changemakers | Freedom From Violence
Deeds Not Words will support legislation that protects quality of life and full livelihoods for all young people. We seek a Texas where all people are able to reach milestones in their life without fear of violence, whether sexually, interpersonally, or institutionally. We plan to address systemic barriers and social issues that disproportionately affect young people of color in Texas through the intersecting violences of white supremacy and misogyny by:
- Increasing access to services related to domestic and sexual violence, advocating for educational efforts to prevent domestic and sexual violence, and expanding protections for campus survivors under Title IX.
- Combating the increase of domestic violence cases during the pandemic, by expanding laws that aim to seek justice and protect survivors.
- Opposing legislation that promotes institutional violence against queer and trans people.
- Addressing LGBTQ discrimination in public schools based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
- Opposing legislation that creates unsafe environments interpersonally, culturally, and institutionally regardless of immigration status.
- Supporting legislation that holds law enforcement and the criminal justice system accountable for abuses of power and perpetuation of white supremacy.
- Acknowledging that immigration is stemmed from humanitarian and environmental issues and supporting the humanity of the undocumented by opposing the “illegal alien” language/rhetoric while also supporting a move towards a sanctuary state and the repeal of SB4
- Supporting human rights at its most basic level with an increase support in healthcare and an inclusion of mental health, mental health awareness, and the violence brought on by institutions that wrongly incriminate/imprison those suffering from mental health while supporting legislation that creates adequate paths forward to address our failing healthcare system
- Addressing the issues within our criminal justice system and supporting legislation that holds police officers accountable and ensures a police academy reform that addressed when excessive force should be used and prioritizing less aggressive forms of action to maintain public safety
- Addressing climate change and moving towards climate justice which is known to impact mostly majority low-income and minority/marginalized communities which increases health risks and leaves communities without access to clean air or clean water and thus support legislation that regulates institutions that pollute our communities and create regulation to maintain healthy livable areas
#changemakers | Reproductive Autonomy
Deeds Not Words will support legislation that fosters a Texas where all young people have the economic, social, political power and resources to define and make decisions about our bodies, health, sexuality, families, and communities in all areas of our lives, with dignity and self-determination through:
- Supporting legislation that promotes the human right to conserve personal bodily autonomy, whether we have children or don’t have children; that we have the ability to live and thrive in safe and long-term communities.
- Advocating for legislation that recognizes that abortion is essential, time-sensitive healthcare, and that all people, regardless of immigration status, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background and geographical location should have access to a legal, affordable, safe abortion without delay, stigma or shame.
- Identifying and eliminating systemic oppression in healthcare that particularly affects the lives of Black Texans, especially Black mothers and young Texans of color.
- Pushing for implicit bias and cultural competency training for medical professionals.
- Expanding sexual health curriculum to include medically accurate information on abortion, gender expression and identity, mental health services, healthy relationships and access to contraception.
- Acknowledging the need to decrease medical deserts and address these environmental hazards towards all communities including the need to have access to OBGYNS and healthcare units made to support child birth and provide science-based sex education
- Decriminalizing the right to FDA approved medications including abortion pills and supporting legislation that allow such medications to be obtained over-the-counter or by mail as well as protecting the right to contraception
- Decriminalize and protect the right to travel out of state for medical treatment including abortion and supporting a patient’s right to privacy
- Support legislation that provides all patients the right to medication/healthcare regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and ethnicity and ensure that medication/healthcare is recognized as a public necessity and thus cannot be denied by a medical provider by any means including religious beliefs
#changemakers | Economic Opportunity
Deeds Not Words will support legislation that fosters a Texas full of opportunity for all young people of color through dismantling economic injustices that disproportionately and negatively affect our society’s most vulnerable. The scale of the opportunity in Texas is almost as great as the challenge. Today, Texas is a nationwide leader on policies that target, disenfranchise and discriminate against people of color. We can shift this scale of power in Texas by:
- Advocating for legislation that removes state taxes from menstrual products.
- Supporting legislation that ensures college affordability for students without the lasting burden of significant student debt.
- Pushing for legislation that equitably serves all students, especially students of color, first generation college students, undocumented/DACAmented students and historically underrepresented students. For example, maintaining the Texas Dream Act.
- Supporting legislation in favor of workplace benefits that bridge the gender wealth gap, independent of income, workplace, or race. For example, Paid Sick Leave, Paid Family Leave and Equal Pay.
- Promoting a workplace that is free from sexual harassment and provides support and protection for workers who report unsafe working environments.
- Supporting legislation that supports undocumented workers to becoming documented and lessening immigrant exploitation by addressing the employment of undocumented workers and moving to create an ethical and equitable workforce
#changemakers | Equitable Representation
Deeds Not Words will support legislation that acknowledges the importance of reflecting the increasing diversity of Texas; from who votes, to who governs. The path to shifting the balance of power in Texas begins and ends with increasing the civic engagement and participation of voices who have been intentionally silenced and excluded from decision-making conversations and electoral outcomes. We can do this through:
- Supporting a fair and inclusive Democratic process by advocating for polling locations on campus, allowing school issued IDs as an acceptable form of Voter ID, and removing the systemic barriers associated with voting laws in Texas.
- Advocating for a fair and transparent redistricting process that will ensure accurate representation and redistribution of resources that will affect the lives and livelihood of Texans for years to come.
- Advocating for opportunities for virtual participation including but not limited to, opening access to virtual testimony. In a State as large as Texas, This will ensure the participation of voices that are usually unable to participate in the legislative process.
Deeds Not Words believes that the toughest challenges we face as a state and country cannot be tackled without the voice and leadership of young people at the forefront. We transform power through our high school and college chapters by building an organized base of young leaders. We build a homegrown movement through investing long-term in their leadership skills through ongoing mentorship and training, and supporting a gender justice agenda led by our changemakers. We shift culture by ultimately winning the debate on the major issues impacting young people through creative direct action and digital and traditional advocacy that place the stories, voices and power of people front and center.
Our changemakers are eager to work with lawmakers from across the state on addressing these critical issues. To discuss our FREE agenda in greater detail or collaborate on other steps for future changemakers, please contact Andrea Reyes, Acting Executive Director at Deeds Not Words at firstname.lastname@example.org