The Fierce Urgency of NOW: State of Black lives in Texas

When the Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TXLBC) gathers for its 2019 legislative Summit Feb. 24-26, lawmakers are hoping to not only discuss major issues that affect the African American community, but come up with a plan of action to implement solutions. 

The Texas Legislature meets in session every two years. Nearly 6,000 bills are introduced during that time and about a fourth of those will pass. Almost all of them will have some impact on the African American community, which is why State Rep. Harold Dutton says it’s imperative that the 19 members of the TXLBC come together.

“The Urgency of Now is a reflection of all the things that seem to be going on that are trying to take us back to not 2019, but 1919. So we need to all come together to address the issues that we face, just like we did to get to where we are,” Dutton said. 

Themed “The Fierce Urgency of NOW: State of Black lives in Texas,” the summit will consist of informative panel discussions which will address a wide range of critical issues including the access and quality of public education, entrepreneurship, human rights, and leadership, among other things. 

Dutton says while the summit is designed to ensure attendees have a great time, the core of their purpose revolves around the issues – particularly in the areas of criminal justice, education and health care. 

“These areas critically impact the Black community and all the issues related to them,” Dutton said. “We have to come together to do something about it. One of the things we want to do is talk to and listen to one another, which is something we don’t do often enough. This gives us an opportunity to do that and make sure we’re listening to people that have those concerns.”

Over 3,500 leaders, students and people of note will attend the three day event in Austin, with free food and entertainment. In addition, scholarships will be awarded to residents from across Texas at the scholarship banquet and galas. Texans who have made outstanding contributions to the state will also be honored. 

“We have an event that’s called the Outstanding Texans award ceremony. Each of the members of the Caucus are permitted to choose two members in our district, who make contributions to the community that sometimes go unnoticed by that same community. These are people on whose shoulders we stand. So we are honoring them, along with our members that were the founders of the Caucus 45 years ago,” Dutton added.  

For more information on the summit, visit, http://txlbc.org/african-american-legislative-summit/.

About the TXLBC

The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is an organization that is comprised of all of the African-American lawmakers in Texas. The purpose of the organization is to bring the law-makers together so that we can work as a group to make sure that the needs of our community, at-large, get met.

The Texas Legislative Black Caucus was formed in 1973 and consisted of eight members. These founding members were: Rep. Anthony Hall (Houston), Rep. Mickey Leland (Houston), Rep. Senfronia Thompson (Houston), Rep. Craig Washington (Houston), Rep. Sam Hudson (Dallas), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Dallas), Rep. Paul Ragsdale (Dallas), and Rep. G.J. Sutton (San Antonio). The TLBC is currently composed of 17 Members of the Texas House of Representatives and two Senators of the Texas Senate committed to addressing the issues African Americans face across the State of Texas. Rep. Helen Giddings (Dallas) currently serves as Chair for the 85th Texas Legislative Session.