February 03, 2021
Contact: Clayton Tucker
[email protected]

Major criminal justice organizations and allies call on legislators to make criminal justice Issues a top priority for the 87th Texas legislative session.

Austin, Texas -- On February 6, 2021 at 12:00 p.m., a coalition of major Texas criminal justice and allied grassroots organizations, including Lee Merritt,  are coming together for a press conference to call on state legislators to make criminal justice issues a top priority for the 2021 legislative session.

The protests in the summer of last year, sparked by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos, and others, ignited an unprecedented-in-scale public awakening for the need to address our state’s legacy of racism and social injustices.

The Austin Justice Coalition, Texas Fair Defense Project, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Latino Justice, Sierra Club, Indivisible, Our Revolution, and many other organizations have come together for this press conference to remind state legislators that their decisions must meet the needs of the people. The people have voiced their needs loud and clear: This legislative session must advance common sense criminal justice policy and boldly address the racial and social justice needs of communities across the state. 

These organizations advocate for transforming parts of the criminal-legal system and found overwhelming support across Texas for a bill put forth by the Legislative Black Caucus. The George Floyd Act, sponsored by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), is a comprehensive police reform bill containing much-needed, sweeping measures to transform policing in Texas. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face interactions with lawmakers are nearly impossible. This coalition urges legislators to seek virtual means when convening with advocates and community members through conference calls, online video calls, or virtual town halls where the people of Texas can safely testify before their elected officials.