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Civic Engagement

Basics

Civic engagement can take on many forms-- in the public policy sphere, there are a number of ways that people can and should use their voices to represent social concerns of communities and advocate for just policies. Below are a couple of ways that people can become civically involved.

Voting is a fundamental part of the democratic process. However, Texas lags behind most of the nation...

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Civic engagement can take on many forms-- in the public policy sphere, there are a number of ways that people can and should use their voices to represent social concerns of communities and advocate for just policies. Below are a couple of ways that people can become civically involved.

Voting is a fundamental part of the democratic process. However, Texas lags behind most of the nation when it comes to voter participation. According to the Texas Secretary of State, of the more than 14 million registered voters in the state, less than five million cast a ballot in the most recent statewide election. Low voter turnout is a problem in a democracy because it means that a small group of people is making election decisions for everyone. The  government affects nearly every aspect of our lives, so being personally motivated to vote and encouraging people in your community to do so is essential.

Knowing who your representatives are and visiting them is also vital to effective engagement in the democratic process. Doing this creates wider avenues for individuals and communities to affect change and strengthen the bonds between citizens and government. Whether you are visiting in broad terms about a policy issue or advocating a more specific position on a bill or an idea, developing relationships with elected officials is key in building a culture of civic responsibility in our local communities.

Participating in democracy is one important way that we love our neighbors. Through civic engagement, we can protect the most vulnerable, be stewards of human and natural resources, address economic and racial injustice, and promote diversity and peace.

Event Date: 
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 10:00am

Texas Muslims from around the state gathered in Austin this week for a day of policy education, advocacy training, and grassroots lobbying at the Texas Capitol.

The day began with a press conference on the Capitol South Steps, where Texans of all faith (and no faith) provided a protective barrier between the group and protestors.

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Advocate

In the final week of the 2016 presidential election cycle, a group of Presbyterian ministers appeal to decency amidst the charged rhetoric and harsh tone that has characterized the presidential race with "A Statement of Conscience from Presbyterians in Mission Presbytery*," an informal statement signed by 40 faith leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA.

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Current Calls to Action

Voting is an important part of our democratic process. One way people of faith can help neighbors in need is by helping them get to the polls on election day! 

In more than 20 Texas communities, buses, taxis, and rideshare services are offering free or discounted rides to and from polling places on election day: Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

To see which communities are participating, go here.

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Current Calls to Action

The budget is central to state government and a reflection of our priorities as a state. It determines how we will spend our money and which groups will benefit. The Texas budget process provides Texans with an opportunity to weigh in on Texas’ priorities and support people and programs that matter to our communities. In the coming months, Texas Impact will provide budget and policy updates, and will highlight opportunities to engage in this important process.

A Texas Budget Overview

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AdvocateLearn

On Saturday, September 24th, Rev. Sam Brannon attended the 4th Annual RGV Equal Voice Regional Summit in Harlingen, Texas. The event was sponsored by the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Equal Voice Network, a network of ten community based organizations committed to bringing the Rio Grande Valley's families' voices to the decision making table.

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EngageLearn

The past week at the Capitol has been busy with legislative committees finishing up the last of their interim hearings. In Texas’s biennial legislature, a legislative session occurs in odd-numbered years beginning the second Tuesday in January, and running for 140 days straight. After each legislative session, the presiding officers of the House and the Senate assign “interim charges,” or topics for study, to their committees in preparation for the next session.

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On Sunday, September 11, Texas Impact staff and dozens of Texas Impact members and supporters joined retired United Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez along with several hundred other participants to march four miles from St. Edward’s University to the Capitol for the 50th Anniversary Commemorative March for Farm Workers rights. See Texas Impact's videos, recorded live from the march, on Facebook.

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Event Date: 
Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 1:30pm

Scott Atnip and Joshua Houston will join the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions Thursday, August 25, 2016. The regular meeting of the Faith Community Hunger Solutions Action Team will feature a spotlight on Texas Impact - People of faith working for justice and a presentation “The intersection of faith and public policy.”

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Learn

One great way to influence public policy is to write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper on a public policy issue important to you. Letters to the Editor are great because they help shape public opinion for both citizens and news leaders and inform legislators of constituent concerns. You can find tips for writing Letters to the Editor here.

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