By Denver Donchez
It was a crowded day at the Capitol Thursday, as the non-profit, activist group Texas Freedom Network celebrated its semi-annual Advocacy Day. The organization, along with its diverse student chapters, Texas Rising spent the day lobbying for voting rights, reproductive justice and LGBTQ+ equality.
Texas Freedom Network is a non-partisan, grassroots organization based in Austin. The group monitors legislation regarding discrimination, equality, censorship and other far-right issues. TFN has multiple student chapters across the state that advocate for similar issues.
On Thursday, the group gathered over 100 young chapter leaders in Austin to voice their opposition to more than 20 bills currently pending in the state legislature. Among these bills were:
HB 201- The fetal tissue bill which would require health clinics to either bury or cremate fetal remains from abortion procedures.
HB 428- A bill that would allow organizations at public universities to circumvent antidiscrimination policies based on religious grounds.
HB 844- A bill banning the dilation and evacuation method of abortion, the most common procedure for second trimester abortions.
Among the many young activists at the event was Emma Brockway, communications manager for the Texas State chapter of TFN. She spoke out for LGBTQ+ equality and urged those in attendance to hold their representatives accountable.
“At 17 years old, I chose to resist hatred, organize my peers and teach those around me to love without boundaries. Today, three years later, I am here among many other young, dedicated activists. Today we are here for our community and for the future of Texas” Brockway said.
Another major issue addressed at the event was SB 6, the so-called bathroom bill that seeks to restrict transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. After engaging lawmakers in dialogue, the activists handed out bathroom passes, asking them which bathroom would be suitable for them to use.
Texas Freedom Network hosts receptions, events and advocacy days throughout the year. Information on how to get involved and a list of their events can be found on their website.
Featured photo courtesy of Brooke Allen.