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2021 History Makers

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by LaNell Taylor

We’re just seven days into the new year and although political chaos has turned deadly (US Capital takeover), the COVID virus is still running rampant throughout most of the world, history makers are already taking their place in the record books.

Right here in Bexar County, TX, San Antonio’s very own Kathryn Brown was sworn in at midnight on Jan. 1 taking on her role as Bexar County Constable, Precinct 4. She is the first-ever Black woman to serve in the county. Brown defeated her Republican opponent Larry Ricketts. Brown is a 19-year veteran of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, a mother of two, and a cancer survivor.

Tia McWilliams made history as the first African American woman sheriff of Taliaferro County in rural Georgia. McWilliams is also a mother of two and has been with the sheriff’s office for over 19 years. She was elected in November 2020 and will replace retired Sheriff Marc Richards.

On Tuesday, January 5th Reverend Raphael Warnock won the runoff and was elected Georgia’s first black senator. When he is sworn in later this month, he’ll be the 11th Black person to serve in the US Senate, but the first Black Democrat to represent a southern state in the Senate. (Other non southern states Black Democrat Senators were Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Carol Mosely Braun, Roland Burris, and William “Mo” Cowan). Warnock beat the GOP incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Warnock is a native of Georgia, graduate of Morehouse College, the 11th of 12 children, the first in his family to graduate college, and he’s the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached.

These groundbreaking success stories are just the beginning of many great moments to come. After a tumultuous year of uncertainty, grief, and some feelings of hopelessness, for at least a brief period we can be assured that more opportunities and doors will continue to open for Blacks to become the firsts but definitely not the last.   

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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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