Yesterday I got back to activism, showing up at the weekly protest in front of Sen. John Cornyn's office, with a larger-than-usual crowd gathered to yell "CLOSE THE CAMPS!" and other slogans. I don't like chanting, but it warmed my heart to be present there. I didn't even mind all the Democratic Party t-shirts that showed how deluded the wearers are. MoveOn, for example, had a fairly large contingent in attendance. My UU brethren numbered about a dozen. I was immensely gratified that venerable Houston activist Gloria Rubac and some friends showed up to represent F.I.R.E. (Fighting for Immigrant Rights Everywhere). We got some media coverage from the Chronicle and several TV stations (e.g., KPRC).
Despite Cornyn's recent flippant tweet about having to withdraw his money from Bank of America in response to its no longer doing business with private prison companies, the senior senator from Texas has apparently introduced legislation to stop the family separation policy. Republicrat Rep. Henry Cuellar has put the same bill before the US House. Did the protests have anything to do with that? I'd like to think so, even if not; the bill was announced two months ago. If adopted, watered down or not, the bill would still bring a return to the unacceptable "keep families together behind bars" policy of the Obama administration.
There will be vigils next Friday night, 12 July, at multiple locations in the Houston area, including the Southwest Key facility at 419 Emancipation Avenue near BBVA Stadium.
Back into the Green Scene
Green Party Houston is ready to announce that its first official membership meeting will happen Tuesday 13 August at 7 pm, time to be determined. The organizers got together last night at their usual haunt, Midtown Bar & Grill. Once again, Sketch Palmer came up big. First he went through a list of proposals for getting the proverbial ball rolling, which we discussed and modified slightly. Then I discovered somewhat serendipitously that he had already started putting GP Houston's NationBuilder website, on which I will soon undertake some editing and formatting work. When it's published, it will be greenpartyhouston.org.
Perhaps it is worth noting at this point that GPTX treasurer Alfred Molison and I are co-chairing this operation. Yep. I thought I was out...they pulled me back in! (Sopranos fans will get the reference.) One of the first items of business at the initial meeting will be to elect a Steering Committee, in order to be compliance with state law on partisan organizations whether such law applies to us or not. Anyone keen on examining and modifying the proposed bylaws—an absolute necessity for recognition by the Secretary of State and GPTX—can join a task force for that.
Those in attendance last night agreed that GP Houston will not fall into the traps that have plagued Harris County Green Party meetings:
- We will keep it tight and not allow any individual or group to hijack the agenda. We will endeavor to make people feel good about attending rather than spiritually exhausted at the end.
- We will give members opportunities to do something rather than just talk about something: e.g., assisting with Janis Richards's mayoral campaign.
- We will not force attendees to sit through endless hashing out of bylaws.
Oh yes, we do plan to get more involved in municipal politics, despite the nonpartisan nature of city elections in Texas. We would like to provide Houston's progressive voters with City Council candidates for whom they can vote enthusiastically, and who are willing to talk about adding a form of Instant Runoff Voting to the City Charter.
More importantly, however, our primary order of business, in line with that of the Texas Greens, will be recruiting and developing suitably progressive candidates for the 2020 election. Former GPTX co-chair Laura Palmer has taken the initiative and assembled an agenda for doing just that.
If you'd like to run in 2020 as a Green, now that GPTX has a guaranteed ballot line, come see us. In all candor, we must inform you that we cannot guarantee any assistance with finances, including raising funds for filing fees, but you might find a campaign treasurer willing to do the heavy lifting.