What We Believe
The Children’s Defense Fund–Texas has worked tirelessly for 20 years to make sure every child has a level playing field, particularly children of color. At the very heart of our work is our commitment to dismantling the systemic racism and inequality that plague the lives of millions of black and brown children across our country. We are horrified by the violent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade and other Black Americans which show that our fight against institutional racism and white supremacy is far from over. For the good of our children, it’s time for change, and we are taking strategic steps to initiate that change.
What We’re Doing
In the wake of these atrocities and in support of the Movement for Black Lives, the CDF-Texas Team, made up of staff and long-time friends and family of CDF, have held weekly discussions about how we can lift up this vital movement. These conversations have led us to three courses of action we feel will help educate our community as well as improve the way we operate as an organization, both individually and collectively. The three courses of action are (in no particular order): an internship created specifically for students from a Texas historically black college or university; a video to introduce the people who make CDF-Texas what it is and how social justice is at the heart of our work; and an advocacy training to empower young people — and young people of color in particular — to speak up for causes they care about.
HBCU Internship Program
For many years, CDF-Texas has fostered a very hands-on policy-based internship program in our Austin office. These internships have traditionally focused on our health, immigration, communication and other policy work. Because of proximity and connections, we tend to recruit interns from various schools at the University of Texas, St. Edwards University and others, the populations of which are somewhat diverse, as have been our interns. But, we recognize that we can do better in offering black students in particular an opportunity to build a resume in social and racial justice work and how those issues should inform policy and advocacy priorities.
This new internship would have a distinct and stated emphasis on issues of racial justice. The position will be reserved for a student attending an HBCU, namely Huston Tillotson University, also located in Austin. Since many of our interns do choose to stay on permanently, the hope and goal of this internship would be to create a pipeline for people of color to advance into a leadership roles at CDF-Texas, ultimately strengthening our ties to the communities we serve and continuing to build a staff with a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and passions.
CDF-Texas Video Project
As an organization, CDF-Texas can reasonably be described as diverse and community minded, with people of color from various socioeconomic backgrounds fulfilling most full-time positions. And the CDF Family also includes our Beat the Odds Honorees, most of whom are from low-income families and a wide range of origins, ethnicities and cultures. We want to highlight this diverse foundation and produce a solid message that communicates how vital and life-giving this diversity and unification is and how it informs all of our work. After introducing our staff and family, we want to provide follow-up pieces to allow their points of view to be expressed and their stories to give insight into the ongoing pursuit of racial justice and equity.
Advocacy 101: A Training for Young People
In all our conversations about Black Lives Matter, certain truths have become prevalent:
Young activists are the ones leading the Black Lives Matter movement and seem to be at the forefront of most movements.
Young people have so much energy to make change.
Advocacy 101 is for those looking to get involved but aren’t sure how. We teamed up with fellow advocates at Young Invincibles to put together relevant tools and first/next steps for those who want to speak out effectively on the issues they care about. We aim to use this and similar events that follow to connect young advocates and, together, we will learn how to best access their power to create change.
The first Advocacy 101 Training took place Tuesday & Wednesday, October 20 and 21, but it won’t be the last. We have set up a Listening Session for November 17, so stay tuned for additional details.
How You Can Help
Spread the Word
Oftentimes we are so busy doing the work, we run out of time to promote the work we do. A simple social-media share to your networks would help raise awareness for these invaluable efforts and perhaps help get more people involved.
Give What You Can
This one is self-explanatory. More resources enable us to do more: serve more children and families, support more movements, empower more young people, create more systemic change.
What topics are close to your heart? What change do you want to see in your community? Chances are, CDF-Texas is making strides in these areas and we want to keep you posted. Please send us the best method of contact for this so you can be up to date with our latest advocacy adventures.
There is a social phenomenon called “Diffusion of Responsibility” that can absolutely cripple any work to create positive change. It is the assumption that someone else will step up so you don’t have to. If you are reading this, listen up: do NOT be a victim of diffusion of responsibility. The time is NOW, and YOU are the one to do something. In the words of our Executive Director Patrick Bresette, this is everyone’s fight. He was talking about systemic racism and white supremacy, but this can apply to virtually every area of our work. Jump in! Attend the Listening Session! Come to a virtual event! Contact your congressperson! Take action! We can use your time and talents.