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Black Life Texas

Election Prop A, Mayor and District 2



For the upcoming election on May 6, voters will decide on Proposition A, the mayor’s race, and selecting candidates for each of the 10 council districts. This article focuses on Proposition A, the mayor’s race, and the competition in District 2. Early voting ends on May 2. All registered voters are eligible to vote on this issue on May 6. 2023.

Proposition A
This is a proposed amendment to the city’s charter. Also known as the San Antonio Justice Charter, it covers a number of issues related to policing.

Act 4 SA circulated a petition and secured the 35,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. The opposition to this amendment is San Antonio SAFE, which says the amendment is too broad. Also, an anti-abortion group attempted to go to the Texas Supreme Court to ask that the amendment be split into multiple ballot propositions and to delay voting until November. The court ruled that Proposition A would appear as a single ballot measure.

Marijuana Decriminalization
Proposition A says that the San Antonio Police would cease arresting people for misdemeanor amounts of marijuana possession up to four ounces. Police would be prohibited from enforcing state marijuana possession laws.

Police would still be able to seize marijuana, but they would be prohibited from testing for THC unless a violent felony is charged. Proposition A would also prohibit police from using the smell of marijuana or hemp as probable cause for a search, except in certain circumstances. Voters have overwhelmingly passed similar language in six other Texas cities (Denton, Killeen, Harker Heights, Austin, Elgin, and San Marcos).

Should Proposition A pass, San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia said the city would not enforce most of Proposition A, including decriminalizing marijuana, because it contradicts state law.

Abortion Decriminalization
The section on abortion would prohibit SAPD officers from investigating, making arrests, or otherwise enforcing “any alleged criminal abortion.” The only exceptions would be when a pregnant person is coerced or forced or in cases involving conduct that’s criminally negligent to the health of the pregnant person seeking care.

The ballot initiative also forbids the city from gathering information on abortions or passing such data to government agencies, apart from what is required in state or federal law.
Should this Proposition pass, it would be very challenging to enforce, considering the new stricter state laws that could supersede local laws.

Clear the Way for Mayor Ron Nirenberg!
Although in a crowded field of 10 candidates, it doesn’t look like incumbent Mayor Ron Nirenberg will have a formidable challenger for his seat in 2023. It’s easy to predict an easy win for Mayor Nirenberg to his fourth and final term before he is term-limited out.

Council District 2
District 2 is a crowded race with 10 candidates vying for the seat. Their names in the order they will appear on the ballot are Rose Requenez Hill, Edward Earl Giles, Patrick Jones, Carla Walker, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Denise McVea, James M. Guild, Michael John Good, Wendell Carson, and Denise Gutierrez.

Constituents are torn between their many choices, while several candidates believe that too many candidates are preventing the voters from making meaningful changes.

When many candidates have scheduled debates, they often don’t show up. Then, several debates have not been debated at all. They are simply a discussion and presentation of the candidates to the organization’s audience holding the debate. Candidates are often prevented from challenging each other. At the same time, some moderators have given their favorite candidates softball questions instead of the hard-hitting questions dealing with crime, economic development, or issues surrounding senior citizens and their safety in the District. Many issues plague District 2 that never seem to be discussed.
All candidates were offered to present a 100-word explanation to Black Life Texas about Why they were running to become the District 2 Councilperson? To date, they have yet to respond.
So, I did qualitative research with several community members and summarized their views. Some constituents of District 2 felt the incumbent’s alternative lifestyle was too outwardly flamboyant. His appearance at council meetings was too much and too fast for them. The incumbent, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, is a former school teacher.

Even his former employer, a San Antonio Council Member, called on him to “tone it down.” Despite that, he ran for the council seat and won his first election. Not bad!

However, an analogy was made between Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of U.S. Transportation, and the District 2 incumbent. Both are gay, one more conservative in appearance and the other flamboyant. Some are concerned that “flair” takes away from the issues. This is not an attack on LGBTQ rights, but many District 2 voters are still learning “how to walk before you run” when embracing LGBTQ lifestyles. Half of the candidates are vying for the seat because of what they feel has not been a meaningful term of office for the incumbent.

However, the incumbent has raised the most money outside the District and the state. Thanks to TOP or the Texas Organizing Project, he has amassed a considerable volunteer base. They donate to his campaign and provide a significant advantage because they have paid block walkers, which they bring in from other parts of the state to campaign on behalf of their chosen candidate. This is difficult to compete with. Two former TOP employees currently work as city-paid staff for the councilman.

While the other candidates for the District 2 race don’t have the advantage of being the incumbent, here’s a quick rundown of some of the groups they belong to. Rose Hill is the president of the Neighborhood Roundtable; Carla Walker is a former member of the MLK Commission; Pastor Patrick Jones is the former president of the Baptist Ministers Union; and Denise Gutierrez is a business owner and fiscally conservative.

Please pick up a League of Women Voters (LWV) Guide at any library to get more information about each candidate’s views.

Black Life Texas

The Real History of Thanksgiving




The history of Thanksgiving cannot be discussed without recognizing the reality of genocide committed against Native Indigenous people. Free land was the enticement for European settlers to come to the Americas. The Native populations on these lands would have to be removed or conquered to accomplish their goals.

Many foreigners were already slave owners who wanted to plant cash crops using Black slave labor. The history of the United States cannot be fully understood unless one examines “settler colonialism.” Settler colonialism was founded on the ideology of land theft, genocide, and slavery. Those who have written American history with an eraser of bias have found it easy to perpetuate the Thanksgiving myth of Europeans sitting down with Native Americans and enjoying a food feast together—nothing could be further from the truth.

What came before this so-called “Thanksgiving” was murder, genocide, and slavery of Native people before and after the mythical thank you dinner. Puritan settlers came up with the idea of the “Doctrine of Discovery,” a racist law enacted by the Pope of that time and brought to America by the less-than-honorable Christopher Columbus. This is the part of the American origin myth that professors and teachers still ignore to be accepted in the world of historical falsehoods. Settler colonialism is a genocidal policy of murder and land theft to satisfy a false religious belief in racial destiny (also called Manifest Destiny). Settlers required violence to realize their dreams of wealth. No community will willingly give up their land, children, resources, and dignity without a fight, and Indigenous people did not go down without a fight against these ideals that were rooted in a colonial agenda that had a religious spin on it. When European settlers were crossing the ocean and illegally crossing borders, it was something supposedly legal and sanctioned by God.

America was not a virgin land or wilderness filled with wild animals but a land tame to Native people. It was a network of native communities that linked people through roads and trails they carved themselves, which they built long before Europeans arrived. Native people cultivated farmland and crops to survive the harsh winters in the northern parts of America. The Native people knew where the oyster beds were, the water routes, and what plants had medicinal value. Settlers came to America with a culture of conquest and killing that they experienced in hundreds of years of religious savagery between Catholics and Protestants, especially the killing and exploitation of the Irish by the English and Scottish. White supremacy can be traced to the Christian Crusades against Muslims and not to capitalism, though capitalism exploited the idea to the fullest later.

These Europeans did not tame the wilderness. They invaded and murdered the original inhabitants. There are many fake origin stories from one country to the next, as apartheid South Africa once claimed and is now claimed by Israel using similar tactics for decades in a systematic way to force Palestinians from their homes, according to Amnesty International.

The fake Captain John Smith story never mentions his threat to kill all Native women and children if the Native people would not help feed and clothe the settlers from England and provide free labor for the English settlement. When Native people refused, the settlers burned their crops in an attempt to starve out the so-called “Indians.” This would result in the Pequot War, in which settlers would slaughter the Pequot tribe in the 1600s. Unknown to many, this was the first “Thanksgiving,” according to research by historians, in which settlers had a celebration thanking God for their murderous exploits. Scalp hunting was brought to America’s shores by the Scottish Protestants, who also invented the term “Redskin” to describe the bleeding head of one of their victims. Mutilated bloody corpses, which Puritans scalped, were the origin of the term “Redskin.” It was not developed as an indication of “race.” Later in history, the practice of scalping and gutting pregnant Native women would be carried out by the Scotsman Andrew Jackson, whom many now call the “Hitler of America.”

The Thanksgiving Myth is that of smiling “Indians” welcoming the European explorers to America, showing them how to reside in this ‘wilderness,” and sitting down to dinner with them. They supposedly hand their lands off to “frontiersmen,” so these invaders can create an incredible country committed to freedom, opportunity, and Christianity until the end of the world. That is the story — it’s about Native People yielding to settler colonialism. The myth is bloodless and, in numerous ways, an argument for the racist idea of Manifest Racial Destiny. Thus, the Thanksgiving myth was created to present a false history to deny the horrors of American origins and later to invent a fake ideology coined “American Exceptionalism.” American Exceptionalism was derived from these false ideas, created by criminal or ignorant historians, which claim that America is an “Innocent Nation” while other nations may have blood on their hands. Nothing could be further from the real history of America and the truth about Thanksgiving. Today, many of us celebrate family and friends and want nothing to do with the invented narrative. We can always choose to provide our own meanings and, at the same time, educate our community about the lies.

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Downtown SA Lights Up for the Holidays



Downtown San Antonio will sparkle this holiday season with an array of lights and holiday events. 

Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most historic and charming walkways, five blocks of Houston Street will buzz with twinkling lights, decorations, entertainers, and vendors from Nov. 24 and runs through January 2. 

 Additionally, on Nov. 24, kick off the holiday festivities with the Annual H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Travis Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include live entertainment, food trucks, letters to Santa, giveaways, holiday crafts, a special visit from Santa, and a movie screening of “The Grinch.” The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 

Get front-row seats to the 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade, which offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk starting at 6 pm at the Tobin Center. This year’s theme, “Holiday Stories,” will kick off the San Antonio tradition. Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. Seating ranges from $15 to $40. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.

The Rotary Ice Rink, presented by Valero, will also return this fall at Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Since 2019, nearly 200,000 people have enjoyed the rink and surrounding festivities. For more information, including hours of operation, pricing, and specials, visit (

For more events, go to (

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Black Life Texas

Black Soldiers’ Convictions Overturned – A Century Later!



More than 100 years later, the U.S. Army recently overturned the convictions of the 110 Black soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (also known as the Buffalo Soldiers), who were falsely found guilty following the World War I-era Houston Riots. 

The records of these soldiers will be corrected, to the extent possible, to characterize their military service as honorable. Seventeen of these men are buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. In 2022, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a sign telling the story of these men to educate visitors about what happened. 

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said, “After a thorough review, the Board has found that these soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials. By setting aside their convictions and granting honorable discharges, the Army is acknowledging past mistakes and setting the record straight.”

The Houston Riots took place on Aug. 23, 1917, following months of racial provocations against members of the 24th — including the violent arrest and assault of two Black soldiers. Following the assaults and amid rumors of additional threats to soldiers, a group of more than 100 Black soldiers seized weapons and marched into the city, where clashes erupted. The violence left 19 people dead.

In the months that followed, the Army convicted 110 soldiers in a process that was, according to historians, characterized by numerous irregularities. Ultimately, 19 men were executed in the largest mass execution of American soldiers by the U.S. Army. The first set of executions occurred in secrecy and within a day of sentencing, leading the Army to implement an immediate regulatory change that prohibited future executions without review by the War Department and the President.

In 2020 and 2021, the South Texas College of Law petitioned the Army to review the convictions. Shortly after, the Army received petitions from retired general officers requesting clemency for all 110 soldiers.

“As a Texas native, I was grateful to participate in this process early in my tenure at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, and I am proud that the Army has now formally restored honor to soldiers of the 3-24 and their families,” said Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo. “We cannot change the past; however, this decision provides the Army and the American people an opportunity to learn from this difficult moment in our history.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been deeply involved as this case has unfolded and is prepared to assist any family members upon receipt of the corrected records. Relatives of the soldiers may be entitled to benefits. Family members or other interested parties may request a copy of the corrected records from the National Archives and Records Administration, in accordance with NARA Archival Records Request procedures found at (

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