San Antonio organizations hold rally and denounce effects of bill on voting in Texas


San Antonio activists, city leaders and community members joined a national call to action on protecting voters’ rights at a rally on Saturday at MLK Plaza.

“There is no more fundamental problem in our nation and in our local communities than protecting people’s voting rights and access to the ballot boxes,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at the rally. March on for Voting Rights. “When it’s eroded as it has been by state law, that’s a reason for anyone to be concerned.”

The event – organized by the Bexar County Democratic Party and joined by more than 20 other local organizations – took place on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic speech “I Have A Dream” and as l The Texas Legislature was working to push forward a GOP elections bill that would restrict voting hours, expand the role of supporter poll observers, and add restrictions on postal voting.

In Washington, DC, thousands of people gathered at the National Mall to express their support for the expansion and protection of ballot access. On its website, March on for Voting Rights reported that rallies were also planned in cities like Atlanta, Miami and Phoenix.

“We haven’t finished at all. We always fight the same battles, ”Becky Brenner, a San Antonio resident who worked as a civil rights activist in 1960s Alabama, said at the East Side rally. “It takes a long time to change a society. It is neither quick nor easy. So, you just have to be persistent. As persistent as the forces on the other side are.

Brenner was one of some 150 to 200 people who gathered in the square on Saturday. Those present had the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to take care of the back-to-school vaccinations as part of a partnership between the organizers of the rally and the city.

“We chose this area because it’s our community and we do a lot of work there,” said Jessica Flores, lead organizer for Neighborhoods First Alliance. “The whole message is to (encourage) people to vote and defend their voting rights.”

The group sees transportation as one of the main constraints affecting the ability of locals to vote, Flores said. Some are skeptical of the impact of their vote, she added.

Democrats decried the GOP bill for the effect its restrictions could have on minority communities such as the East Side.

The bill, which has a chance of passing before the end of the 30-day special session on September 5, has been blocked for months by Texas Democrats, who left the opposition, denying Republicans the quorum in the Texas House. On Friday, the bill was passed by the House. It must now be considered by both chambers due to last minute changes.

Organizers hope the event not only educated attendees about what is happening at the community and state level, but also inspired them to take action and get involved.

“Our voting rights are under attack,” said H. Drew Galloway, founder and executive director of BRIDGE Movements, a civic engagement startup. “It will require all of us to stand up… ultimately, there are so many ways for us to take back and take power to lead the city and state in the direction we want to see it go. hui, this is the first step.

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