When Jesse Woche heard about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the now 24-year-old felt galvanized to work in the gun violence prevention space full time. She had been interested in advocacy since she was 15, shifting between environmental conservation, abortion access and other causes that mattered to her. “(The shooting) just […]
byAbby L. Johnson
Dozens of people calling for legislators to protect American children from sex trafficking, ideological indoctrination and drag queen storytime competed with counter-protesters advocating for transgender rights at the Texas Capitol on Saturday.
Children’s faces lit up as they looked up to the 12-foot puppet made of cane and carbon fiber with long brown hair made of Tyvek tied with a red string. Phones were raised in the air to capture the sight as “Little Amal” visited Austin for the first time to call attention to the plight of refugees around the world.
“She’s made larger than life so that people also can look up to refugees,” said a programming associate for The Walk Productions.
More than 500 marchers called for the end of human trafficking at the Texas State Capitol during this year’s Walk for Freedom rally Saturday.
byAbby L. Johnson
Thousands of people rallied with signs of protest and boots in hand at the Texas State Capitol on Saturday to protest a proposed voucher-like program they fear will take away significant funding from public schools.
The rally took place just days before the third special session of the 88th Legislature was to begin Monday. Gov. Greg Abbott called for the special session after House Bill 100 failed to pass in this year’s regular session.
Soft strums from a wooden guitar and the smell of warm tamales and green salsa that flowed together like a warm hug filled the air of Benedict Hall. About 35 students and faculty gathered at the teachers’ lounge at the University of Texas to listen to Crispin Martinez Rosas, who goes by the artistic name […]
Photo Gallery by Ry Olszewski Since he was 4, Chris Morris loved to race. He was a motocross competitor for 16 years, but in 2016, he broke his back while practicing for a race. Even though he now needs a wheelchair, he still wanted to race and was determined to find a way to do […]
The Broken Spoke faces a critical turning point this spring, as the Austin City Council considers designating the lot surrounding the Texas dance hall as a historic zone, a declaration that would protect the 58-year-old venue from real estate development along South Lamar Boulevard.
In November, the council initiated a proclamation naming the Broken Spoke a historical landmark. But that largely ceremonial proclamation, brought by Council Member Ann Kitchen, in itself does not ensure long-term preservation of the dance hall and restaurant. So, Kitchen initiated the city’s historic zoning process that would make it more difficult for the landowner to develop the Broken Spoke site.
“She didn’t want it to go the way of so many other historic landmarks unofficially named in town,” said the author of a 2017 book on the dance hall. “She wanted it to be here for future generations. So she started the process.”
The world came to know Maya Guerra Gamble last summer as the no-nonsense judge presiding over the Texas defamation trial of Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars media company.
“It seems absurd to instruct you, again, that you must tell the truth while you testify,” the Travis County district court judge lectured Jones at one point. “But here I am. You must tell the truth while you testify. This is not your show. You need to slow down and not take what you see as opportunities to further the message you’re wanting to further.”
Speaking directly is a trademark of Gamble’s personality. “I’ve always been a pretty direct person. … And in both directions. I have never enjoyed false praise. I would rather hear the truth. Whatever it is,” Gamble said.
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Texas, increasing by 68% to 1.6 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. But Asians remain underrepresented in the Texas Legislature and other state offices.
byAna Paola Davila Chalita
For Juan Martinez and his truck, a trip usually lasts from Monday to Saturday, starting in Mexico and going north into the United States before returning home. He is one of thousands of truck drivers from Mexico, taking jobs to haul freight across the border under a 1991 commercial trucking agreement between the United States and Mexico.
The opportunity of a higher salary is driving more Mexicans with a B1 visitor visa to a profession that is constantly struggling with a worker shortage.
But the industry still needs 78,000 drivers, “The price of everything we buy is going to go up,” said a manager for trucking company, “because it’s going to cost more to move it, because we have less drivers that want to move it.”
byKatie Pratt and Lisette Lopez
Young voters across a divided nation are being credited by political analysts for preventing a Republican-dominated midterm from coming to life. Yet, that “red wave” did come to shore in the Lone Star State. Every statewide Republican candidate won by double percentage points, and a frustration from the large majority of UT students the day after the election was palpable. Still, at UT Austin, the lead-up to the 2022 midterm election was marked by a strong passion from students getting out the vote and campaigning for ideas and candidates they believed in.
Planning a long-distance trip in an electric vehicle can be tricky, especially in rural parts of Texas where electric vehicle charging stations can be sparse. Texas is working to improve rural access to charging stations. The Federal Highway Administration in September approved $408 million to help the state government to install EV charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors.
With overdose deaths mounting, harm reduction groups are providing overdose reversal medications and other supplies to ensure safer substance use and generally healthier living. But the groups operate in a legal gray area.
“This work is important for everybody here,” one clinic coordinator said after a day of outreach in his group’s mobile clinic. “Don’t you know we all can go to jail right now? Because everything that we do is illegal, technically. When I was doing the (safe syringe exchange) van, all of that stuff on there was illegal. But guess what? Ain’t never stopped me.”
The group takes its clinic van to several encampments each Tuesday through Friday, providing Narcan nasal spray, an opioid overdose reversal medication, safe smoke kits, needle exchanges, hygiene supplies, wound care kits and Plan B contraception pills.
“Fundamentally, harm reduction is about saving people’s lives and increasing safety around unsafe behaviors,” said one expert.
The seemingly laid-back island town of Surfside Beach has found itself at the forefront of oil industry expansion, as a plan to build the Sea Port Oil Terminal, known as SPOT, has divided the community.
The plan includes building an oil pipeline from Harris County through Brazoria County, across vacant lots in the village of Surfside Beach and connecting to a deepwater port 27 nautical miles offshore.
The construction project is one of six new permit applications for offshore terminals in the Gulf of Mexico to export oil or natural gas to the global market. The permit for the Sea Port Oil Terminal has received more than 37,000 public comments, and a final decision on permit approval is expected this month from the U.S. Maritime Administration.
Battles over removal of LGBTQ-themed books from libraries and the teaching of race in Texas schools are moving to the ballot boxes in hotly contested school board elections.
byJill Ament, Veronica Apodaca, Cristela Jones, Paula Levihn-Coon and Gabriella Ybarra
Despite Texas gaining more people than any other state in the past decade, more than half of its counties lost population, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.
During the past few decades, changes in agriculture and the boom-or-bust oil and gas industry have led to dwindling employment opportunities in rural Texas. Many young people leave rural communities after high school in search of economic and social opportunity, often never returning.
“You start seeing what I describe as kind of a net out-migration of young people who age up through high school in their community where they grew up. And if they want to go to post-secondary education or they want to work in a job that’s, you know, potentially higher paying, they’re going to have to move to a more urbanized area,” Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter said.
That loss of young people, Potter said, has left aging populations in rural communities.
Diana Mykoliv woke up early on the morning of Feb. 24 for flight attendant training in the United Arab Emirates. Her hair clipped back and uniform pressed, she headed out her apartment door when she received a text from her mother.
“It’s happening, daughter.” The message in Ukrainian stopped her in her tracks.
“My heart just fell from my chest,” Mykoliv, a Ukrainian native, said. “The worst fears I could have ever imagined of the situation were just brought to light. I couldn’t believe it.”
The same morning at 5 a.m. in Kyiv, Mykoliv’s fiancé Oleksandr awoke to explosions of ballistic missiles. In a frenzy, he packed documents, money, some clothes and a Stephen King book, then headed to the train station to flee the city among the sound of alarms.
“I couldn’t sleep for three days,” Oleksandr said. “Air alarms sound every day, sometimes for hours and it just leaves me shaking.”
Mykoliv, 3,000 miles away from her home, felt hopeless as Russian forces marched into her country, uprooting and threatening the lives of her friends, family and fiancé. According to the BBC, President Biden and the policymakers in the European Union responded by issuing severe sanctions targeting four of Russia’s largest banks, its oil and gas industry, and Western exports (especially technology) to the country.
Bryan Campa doesn’t attend Fiesta for the food or the alcohol, though he doesn’t begrudge people who do. To him, Fiesta is a chance to celebrate his culture. Fiesta, a festival that lasts for 11 days during April, honors the Battle of the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto and celebrates the Mexican-American and other […]
Holly Barajas had enough. It was the end of a pandemic-ridden school year for this first-grade teacher. It, too, marked a final chapter in a two-decade-long career, where the emotional highs of seeing her work’s impact on children were fraught with the frustrations that came with the job. Long hours and low pay. Society’s strong […]