January 4, 2017 | 2:58 EST
Local Progress Members,
As the newest member of the Local Progress Board and a proud Texan, I couldn’t be more excited to invite you all to join us for our next Local Progress convening on July 27-29th 2017 here in Austin, Texas. Please save the date! We’ll send around more specifics later this month.
Since the 2016 election, Local Progress members across the country have been swapping strategies for resisting hate, protecting our communities, and continuing our work to advance progressive policies locally. Austin has been fighting on all fronts. Last year, we passed landmark civil rights legislation and became the first Fair Chance Hiring city in the South. In addition, I was proud to sponsor a measure withLocal Progress Member Delia Garza to create more affordable housing throughout Austin to prevent the displacement of long-standing communities. And late last year, I stood alongside Mayor Steve Adler in standing up for our commitment to protect all Austinites regardless of immigration status, while I urged resistance to President-Elect Trump’s politics of fear and hate.
And that’s just the news out of Austin. In the past year, we have been making progress locally all across Texas. At the end of 2015, Dallas passed mandatory rest breaks for construction workers, and Dallas ISD started a restorative discipline program in the 2015-16 school year that saw a 70 percent reduction for in-school and out-of-school suspensions. El Paso passed an innovative ordinance to combat wage theft, and Houston’s officials are leading on criminal justice reform. We hope that lessons learned from cities in Texas will be inspiring and instructive as we collectively face a new political era of increasing hostility towards progressive ideals and progress.
Our challenges in the year ahead are many– from defending immigrant communities and communities of color, to building sustainable cities and fighting climate change, to defending public education and shoring up working families with better economic justice policies and affordable housing. Our conference will be a critical space for us to come together as a network to discuss, create, and continue shared strategies for the challenges ahead. It will also be a space to support each other in continuing to build Local Progress to improve our cities, towns, and counties.
It’s on us to build, organize, resist, and protect. As a long-time community organizer, I believe in our power when we unite with those that believe in us and our ideas. When our policies are on the ballot—they win. When we run on our progressive ideas—we win. As a network of strong progressive elected officials, we must fight and win more—together.
Join us July 27-29th in Austin, TX. I promise it will be more than worth your while (and we promise not to let you overheat!)
Gregorio Casar, Austin Council Member, District 4
Local Progress Board Member