We’ve been busy.
Check out our campaigns to fight back against injustice policies and advocate for a more equitable Texas.
Our Work | #ClearTheKits.
Every day, more rape kits enter the massive backlog of untested evidence—while the clock runs out on others. The statute of limitations (in Texas, 10 years) sets a timeline for justice to be served in rape cases, and that deadline is closing on many survivors whose rape kit evidence has sat untested, collecting dust on evidence room shelves for years. Justice in rape cases may have an expiration date, but human dignity doesn’t, and it’s up to us to ensure that the backlog of rape kits is tested before the clock runs out on the ability to use this evidence in court.
In a joint effort between Deeds Not Words and Texas State Representative Victoria Neave, we launched #ClearTheKits to show survivors they matter by helping them get justice so they can regain their lives and heal.
Through our online portal, visitors can educate themselves on the Texas rape kit backlog, sign a petition to end the statute of limitations, and donate directly to a fund to clear the kits.
Since its launch in June 2018, we’ve raised over $16,000 with a social media campaign that reached over 100,000 people.
Learn More and donate directly at ClearTheKits.org
Work Strong Austin.
Our Work | Work Strong Austin.
In February of 2018, Austin City Council voted favorably to adopt a Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, making it the first city in the South to do so.
A number of our young advocates were involved in the “Work Strong Austin Taskforce” that met over the course of many weeks to formulate a policy that worked for businesses and workers, alike. And they were there on the night of the scheduled vote, armed with their personal stories and testifying before the City Council urging their favorable vote on the ordinance.
#Changemakers like Katie who talked about her autoimmune disorder and how her single mom had to miss work when Katie was hospitalized on numerous occasions; like Claudia, an undocumented immigrant, who has suffered from mental distress while the threat of deportation hangs over her and other Dreamers like her; and like Ashley who spoke of our moral obligation to protect individuals from threat of job loss when they need to take time off to deal with an illness.
These personal stories, joined with the stories of so many others who spoke that night, weren’t just a part of why the ordinance passed last Thursday, they were THE reason that the ordinance passed. And because of the courage of the people gathered that evening and their willingness to share deeply personal stories about their own health challenges, we now have a model ordinance in Austin that will protect the 233,000 workers who currently lack those protections. And we’ve set the bar for other cities to follow.
Our Work | Movement Mujeres
Movement Mujeres is a joint initiative of Deeds Not Words, the nonprofit led by Former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis that stands for women’s equality, and Jolt, an organization that increases civic participation of Latinos in Texas to build a stronger democracy and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. Deeds Not Words and Jolt Initiative are two of the only organizations in the state of Texas dedicated to organizing and developing the leadership of young women through an intersectional framework.
Through this project, we’ll work to build the organizational muscle and leadership pipeline necessary to transform Texas and make the state a national leader on policies to protect and expand the rights of working class communities of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ, women and the environment. We also seek to create a model of change by demonstrating that investment in women of color leaders is the path to driving systemic change. However, to achieve this ambitious vision, we must invest in the infrastructure to make change possible: the leadership of women of color, their organizations and growing their voices so that they are able to use their power to transform the state over the next decade.
- Movement Mujeres will run a two year fellowship for women of color across Texas. The inaugural 25 fellow class will be announced in February 2019.
- The Movement Mujeres Fellowship aims to:
- Place women of color in key positions of power in government and progressive non-profit organizations
- Invest in the leadership capacity of women through on-going training and mentorship, giving participants the skills to build power, influence policy and lead
- Build a cohort of women of color leaders that will serve as a network of supporters and co-conspirators in the coming years
- Make the invisible visible to create systemic change on the issues impacting women of color in Texas through the telling of our stories and lifting up the voices in our community that are often overlooked and underrepresented.
Our Work | PG-18.
Power-Generation 18 (PG-18) is our ongoing youth-led voter engagement program, where our #Changemakers encourage their peers to join them at the polls. Through texts, phone calls, and even Snapchats, these young activists are talking to their friends about issues important to their generation, providing them with information about the civic process, and making sure their voices are heard through the power of their vote. In the primary elections they designed, named and ran their own program, collectively turning out 69% of the peers they reached out to.
Deeds has now partnered with Motivote, a women-led digital platform that encourages civic participation in a fun and innovative way. How it works: 1) Groups of friends form teams, and each commit to vote; 2) Friends hold each other accountable—with curated info and actions, competition and rewards—for getting ready and engaged.
The People's Lawsuit.
Our Work | The People's Lawsuit.
Five years after the People’s Filibuster, Deeds Not Words is excited to join with 18 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations from across Texas in fighting back against anti-abortion legislation with a groundbreaking federal legal challenge to the existing web of Texas abortion restrictions.
Collectively, we held a press conference to highlight the merits of the lawsuit and created a communications campaign to help raise awareness about the existing landscape of abortion restrictions in Texas and the People’s Lawsuit that seeks to overturn them.
Our young Changemakers were an important part of these efforts and will continue to provide communications support for the People’s Lawsuit awareness campaign.
Learn more about our coalition and receive updates at peopleslawsuittx.org
I Am Evidence Screening
Our Work | I Am Evidence Screening
In May of 2018, Deeds Not Words organized a screening of the groundbreaking documentary, I AM EVIDENCE, to a packed house in Austin, TX.
Produced by a partnership between Mariska Hargitay’s non-profit, Joyful Heart, and HBO, the film exposes the alarming number of untested rape kits in the United States through a character–driven narrative, bringing much needed attention to the disturbing pattern of how the criminal justice system has historically ignored sexual assault survivors.
After the film, our founder Wendy Davis led a panel discussion on Texas’ Rape Kit backlog, featuring Texas State Representatives Victoria Neave and Donna Howard as well as experts from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, SAFE Alliance, Survivor Justice Project, and Not On My Campus.
Panel Series on Immigration
Our Work | Panel Series on Immigration
In the spring of 2018, Deeds Not Words organized a series of panels on three college campuses highlighting the intersections between immigrant rights and the sexual and domestic violence, reproductive injustice and economic inequities experienced by immigrant women.
#MeToo / #YoTambién – Our first panel at St. Edward’s University focused on how sexual assault and domestic violence affect immigrant communities in unique ways particularly in the face of laws hostile to immigrants, driving victims underground. We also discussed how these vulnerable populations are often overlooked in national #MeToo conversations. We were joined on the panel by representatives from Asian Family Support Services of Austin, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, United We Dream, Lone Star Victims Advocacy Project, and YWCA ATX who outlined the unique obstacles undocumented women face in reporting crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, and what we can all do to be better advocates for this community.
Repro Justicia – Our second panel at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus focused on the unique challenges undocumented women face in Texas when seeking reproductive services, particularly abortion care. Joining us on the panel were advocates from Jane’s Due Process, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. They raised awareness about the legal and geographical barriers that stand between immigrant women and the reproductive choices they should be entitled to.
Here to Stay, Here to Work – Our third and concluding panel at Austin Community College’s Riverside campus focused on the economic barriers faced by immigrant women in Texas. Joining us on this panel were our partners from Workers Defense Project, Work Strong Austin, Center for Public Policy Priorities, YWCA Austin, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, and Lilith Fund. With their help, we held a long overdue conversation about the frequency of wage theft, vast pay inequities and the lack of workplace protections experienced by our immigrant sisters that directly affect their ability to fully realize opportunities for themselves and their families.
When is Equal Pay Day?
Our Work | When is Equal Pay Day?
Equal Pay Day for all women should be on December 31, but unfortunately, it isn’t. The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what a man earned in the prior year. Equal Pay Day marks how far women (asian, white, black and latina) work after the close of a calendar year in order to make what men made in the previous one. For asian women that day typically occurs in February, for white women it’s April, for black women it’s August, for native american women, it’s September, and for Latinas it’s November!
To illustrate the enormous disparities in equal pay through an intersectional lens and to encourage social media sharing, we built the microsite day counter: WhenIsEqualPayDay.com