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Denver, CO Governor Diversifies the Bench

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Five Black women are currently serving as judges in Colorado, which is a record-breaking number in the state. They were appointed by Gov. Jared Polis during a period of less than two years.

In October 2019, Frances Johnson was appointed for the 4th Judicial District Court in Colorado Springs, making her the first Black woman to hold the position in general jurisdiction.

A month after that, Nikea Bland became the first Black woman appointed to a Denver district court of general jurisdiction.

“It’s 2020, and there shouldn’t be any Black firsts left, but here we are,” Bland told Essence. “I’m just glad to see we are finally moving forward. It’s progress.”

This year, Pax Moultrie was selected to the Denver Juvenile Court in February, Samorreyan “Sam” Burney was assigned in the 4th Judicial District County Court in Colorado Springs in April, and Jill Dorancy was appointed a district court judge in July.

Polis, who took office in January 2019, appointed more Black women to the statewide bench than all the 42 previous governors combined. The efforts were done in accordance with his commitment to have representation for everyone.

“I am honored to appoint several highly qualified and dedicated Black women to serve in Colorado’s judicial branch — it’s about time! I am committed to building a Colorado for all, which is why we need more people of color in positions of leadership and represented in our government, in order to truly reflect our community,” Polis said.

Moreover, the appointments are somehow surprising to many, especially that the state consists of 84% white and 4% Black population.

“It’s not the first place that people from outside the state would think of as diverse,” Moultrie said. “This is an example of what happens when people in leadership positions embrace and value diverse talent. If it can happen here in Colorado, it can happen anywhere!”

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2021 City Council Inauguration

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San Antonio’s newly elected Council members are all sworn in and ready for the work ahead. Four new members joined the 10 district dais including District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez who made history when he won the Jun. 5 runoff election against former councilwoman, Jada Andrews-Sullivan. Mckee-Rodriguez, 26, ran his entire campaign on progressive principals and values with the goal of transforming city hall. He is also the first openly gay black man to serve on the council and in the state of Texas. The former math teacher is looking forward to serving his constituents, focusing on the budget, and bringing accountability to District 2 and the city of San Antonio.

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Fight Back Against Voter Suppression

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Rally at the TX Capitol this Saturday: Fight Back Against Voter Suppression

JOIN THE TEXAS POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN AND VDC OUTREACH THIS SATURDAY AT THE CAPITOL FOR A RALLY AGAINST VOTER SUPPRESSION (MASK Required). April 24, 2021, 100 W. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78201

A record number of voter suppression bills have been filed in Texas during the legislative session. These attempts to further voter suppression reflect a coordinated, nationwide effort to stifle the power of a multi-racial fusion movement to make democracy real for the 140 million poor and low-income people living in the U.S. 

The bills in the TX Legislature that pose the greatest threat to Texans are House Bill 6 (HB 6) and Senate Bill 7 (SB 7).  While slightly different in content, these bills aim to limit voting by restricting how and when people can vote. 

Read what’s in SB 7 here.

Read what’s in HB 6 here.

In response to HB 6 and SB 7 advancing through the Legislature, we will be having a rally at the Capitol to show lawmakers that we are paying attention and that we will not let our right to vote be stolen from us.

Special guest speakers include:

  • Charles O’Neal, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
  • Dr. Shirley McKellar, Council member District 3, Tyler, TX
  • Dr. Jamal Randy Allen Rasheed, President / C.E.O Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum
  • Eric Williams, Dallas filmmaker who recently released “Finding Miriam
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Collective Bargaining Negotiations Extended

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City of San Antonio’s statement on collective bargaining negotiations with the San Antonio Police Officers Association

SAN ANTONIO (April 19, 2021) — Today, the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA) agreed to extend collective bargaining negotiations. The parties agreed to a 15-day extension, which extends negotiations through May 12, 2021.

“We have made positive progress in these negotiations, but the arbitration process remains unresolved – that is our top disciplinary reform priority. We made our disciplinary priorities clear and known prior to beginning these negotiations,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “It is not acceptable to have arbitrators undermine the Chief’s authority and force him to rehire officers that have been fired for egregious conduct. Allowing that to continue tarnishes the City, the San Antonio Police Department and our efforts to serve the public daily.”

“Our residents have voiced their priorities and asked us to seek substantial disciplinary changes for police officers. My Council colleagues and I are committed to making that the City’s top priority in these negotiations,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.  

The City has negotiated in good faith and is willing to continue negotiations. 

“It is critically important to the San Antonio community that the police contract no longer protect and enable bad officers. The vast majority of San Antonio Police Officers do a tremendous job protecting and serving the community, and they deserve better,” said Deputy City Manager María Villagómez. 

The City of San Antonio’s negotiating team met with SAPOA 11 times since both parties agreed to negotiate in good faith. Both parties agreed at the start of the negotiations to meet and negotiate through at least April 19, 2021. 

More information about the collective bargaining agreement negotiations, including recordings of past sessions can be found here: https://www.sanantonio.gov/City-Attorney/CollectiveBargaining

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