HOUSTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas launched a new, multi-year racial justice initiative Tuesday.
The group says Systemic Equality is a roadmap to help dismantle laws and practices that exclude and harm Black people and other communities of color.
The ACLU of Texas agenda includes specific policy and legal priorities to achieve systemic equality, focusing on:
- Promoting reconciliation to reduce historical impacts of systemic inequality, such as reforming policing and reducing mass incarceration;
- Extending empowerment through efforts such as protecting voting rights; and,
- Closing racial gaps in access to necessary services such as abortion care or disaster recovery.
The ACLU’s renewed focus on protecting voting rights comes after a series of contentious legal battles during the 2020 election season and a new series of bills being introduced in the Texas legislature they believe will disenfranchise voters.
“We’re really looking at ways in which we as an organization can help create opportunities for people to do that basic right. And that is to show up to vote,” said Darryl Ewing, communications director for ACLU of Texas.
Ewing said that includes supporting the Democracy Restoration in Voting and Elections (DRIVE) Act that has been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives.
The legislation is aimed at fighting voter suppression, especially in Black communities.
“The DRIVE act really gives counties the opportunity to conduct elections in the way in the best way that impacts local communities, drive-thru locations, drop off boxes, making sure that all of that is controlled at the local level,” Ewing said.
The ACLU said their new initiative will also focus on voter education.