By Bobby Blanchard | The Texas Tribune
Texans who want to vote in the upcoming Texas primary runoff election on July 14 have until Monday, to register.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delayed the upcoming primary runoffs from May to July after the coronavirus pandemic hit the state of Texas.
Voters participating in the Democratic primary will decide the outcome in two statewide races. Most notably, state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, is facing decorated Air Force veteran MJ Hegar in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat. Whoever wins will go on to face U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the fall. The other statewide Democratic primary runoff is for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees the oil and natural gas industry.
Both Republican and Democratic voters will choose the winners in a handful of congressional and legislative runoff races.
Here's how to register to vote:
Early voting starts June 29. Voters who voted in the Republican primary in March cannot cross parties and vote in the Democratic primary — and vice versa. But if you didn't vote in the March primary you can still vote in the primary runoffs. See the primary runoff ballot here and add key Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar here.
This article is republished with permission from The Texas Tribune. Read the original post here.
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On Monday, a second week of demonstrations against police brutality began across the nation. In San Antonio, protestors gathered at Blue Star Arts Complex south of downtown for a silent march to La Villita and Hemisfair. At Blue Star, Young Ambitious Activists, the organizers of this and many other local protests, stressed to supporters the day’s theme was love, family, and community.
Organizer Anthony Sanchez encouraged attendees to take selfies with fellow marchers. Lexi Qaiyyim, another organizer, opened the “people’s protests,” a time for demonstrators to share their stories with the crowd, by reading Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” Officer Douglas Greene was then invited to speak to the crowd. “I walked up here, and I was received with love,” Greene said to 2,000 demonstrators assembled at Blue Star. “If we can protest together, we can dream together.”
It was the 10th consecutive day of marching in downtown San Antonio following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police two weeks ago.
Those who spoke in the people’s protest echoed the organizers’ calls for unity and community. Dustin Castro, 35, emphasized the importance of building community and connecting with people of different backgrounds. “The younger generations are part of a new generation of humanity, where it’s no longer tribalistic, it’s no longer divisive, it’s no longer us versus them,” he said. “We’re also connected. We’re also inspired. We’re also motivated.”
Staci Wilson, 22, told the crowd to think beyond George Floyd when they march.
“I want y’all to remember what y’all are marching for,” she said. “You’re not only marching for yourself, you’re not only marching for your friends. You’re not only marching for your families, or just for George Floyd. You’re marching for everybody.”
Just before the march began, U.S. Rep. Joaquin and former Mayor Julián Castro arrived to speak to the crowd. “I want to say how proud I am to see everybody here,” Joaquin Castro said. After speaking about the history of police brutality in America, he said, “What I think you should be asking every elected official, from the president to the members of Congress to the City Council members to the county commissioners to the state legislators, is, ‘Are you gonna act?’ ” He cited his record in Congress of advocating against H.R. 1154, a bill in the U.S. House that would allow police unions across the country to engage in collective bargaining.
Julián Castro spoke about his work on the presidential campaign trail in the past year, stating that his campaign was the only one to put forward a stand-alone policy on policing.
“We want an America that lives up to his highest ideals, where no matter who you are, you’re treated fairly and your life is not snuffed out because of bigotry,” he said.
Monday’s protest followed a different route than last week’s marches. After leaving Blue Star Arts Complex, the crowd walked through the King William Historic District to La Villita. Last week’s protests were held at Public Safety Headquarters at South Santa Rosa Avenue, with marches to the Bexar County Courthouse and Travis Park. Dito Mendoza, 21, a member of Young Ambitious Activists, said their goal was to “bring (the movement) to new parts of the city.” He said the new route offered views of the Tower of the Americas and the River Walk, which brought a distinctly San Antonio energy to the protest.
Along the route, demonstrators were encouraged to be silent, but to hold their signs up high. “Put your signs up,” Qaiyyim told people as she passed them. “They can’t hear us, but they’re gonna see us today.”
At Arneson River Theatre, the throng of demonstrators filed in. Organizer Trevor Taylor led the crowd in chanting the names of two black men who were killed by SAPD officers in recent years: Charles Roundtree Jr. and Marquise Jones. Now that four Minneapolis officers have been charged in Floyd’s murder, the focus of the protests have shifted to police reform and justice for all victims of police brutality, including explicit calls in San Antonio for justice for Roundtree and Jones. Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales has said he has no plans to reopen those cases.
After leaving La Villita, the march continued to the Torch of Friendship and then Hemisfair, where demonstrators convened on the grass for another round of the people’s protest. Members of the Krishna Temple were there to serve free food to all attendees.
On the sixth consecutive day of gatherings against police brutality in downtown San Antonio, about 500 protestors looked for city officials to match verbal support with action.
Last night, the peaceful protest began at 3:30 p.m. at public safety headquarters on South Santa Rosa Street and soon moved to the Bexar County Courthouse where demonstrators gathered at the front steps. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Derek Chauvin, the now-fired Minneapolis cop, last week. Much of the protest revolved around changes organizers wanted to see reflected in local government.
Pharaoh Clark, 32, a local activist and representative of Uniting America Through Wisdom, announced a list of 10 demands for specific changes from the city. These included a citizen review board for all complaints against San Antonio Police Department officers, a minimum of $250,000 paid to the family of any unarmed civilian unlawfully killed by police, and a monthly forum for the public to interact with the police department.
Speaking to protestors in front of the courthouse, Mayor Ron Nirenberg highlighted the need for action beyond simply expressing support.
“Y'all are tired of the conversations that we continue to have year after year where the end result is something like this,” Nirenberg said. “We hear you, we know there needs to be a change, and we’re going to set up a committee to help us through that. But I’m here to tell you that I don’t want any more committees.”
Nirenberg turned to Clark and committed to “working every single day” with him until “everyone can go home without feeling like they have to fight for… the freedom to feel safe in their own community.”
Earlier in the day, a Black Lives Matter protest erupted inside City Council chambers, before the council was set to vote on a mid-year budget adjustment due to Covid-19. They called for defunding SAPD, which, along with the fire department and park police, accounts for $820.3 million—or 64%—of the city's $1.27 billion general fund. Nirenberg, several times, threatened to suspend the meeting to restore order, but ultimately didn’t. The meeting resumed after he promised Clark he’d meet with him in his office after the meeting and start a meaningful dialogue.
At the end of his speech to the protestors, Nirenberg volunteered to take responsibility for future changes.
“There will be people... who will wear a uniform and make mistakes, but let’s forgive that, and hold me accountable for it,” Nirenberg said. “Because I’m the mayor of this goddamn city, and we’re going to make change together, OK?”
The crowd generally responded favorably to Nirenberg’s speech, applauding multiple times throughout. But many protestors made it clear that they want to see it result in real action.
“I want to thank (the mayor) for coming... but he is right, we are looking for accountability,” one of the organizers said to the crowd. “We are looking for him to have action with his words. You can say all the words you want, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t back it up.”
Tony Mandujano, an army veteran and attendee of the protest, is hoping for improvements in the ways police are prepared for their job. He emphasized the importance of “making sure they go through multicultural training to know every facet of the communities where they get their job.”
The protest was organized by Young Ambitious Activists, a new local organization that plans to keep holding frequent protests, according to organizers. They emphasized the importance of younger people taking action.
"Me being as young as I am, I haven’t really had a major opportunity to protest," said Jesse, an 18-year-old protestor who preferred to give only his first name. "After this horrible situation, this is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and go protest...I see now why people fight so hard and are coming (to the protests) daily. It’s such an invigorating movement.”
Benjamin Gonzalez is a reporting intern at the Heron. He graduated from Trinity University with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology, and can be reached at email@example.com, @BennyCruzG on Twitter.