Top 10 Social Justice Stories

The year in equal rights


A vigil for Monica Loera in February (Photo by Jana Birchum)

1) Black Lives Matter 17-year-old David Joseph was naked and unarmed when APD Officer Geoffrey Freeman shot and killed him on Feb. 8. The death spurred local Black Lives Matter protests. Freeman was fired for the shooting, and later reached a settlement with the city.

2) Monica Loera Loera was shot and killed in front of her apartment on Jan. 22 – the first transwoman murdered in the U.S. this year, one of the deadliest on record for the gender-nonconforming community. Upon her death, she was misgendered by APD and had her birth name used in multiple news reports.

3) Banned the Box Austin became the first Southern city to pass a Fair Chance Hir­ing ordinance, which blocks private employers from asking about applicants' criminal history until a conditional job offer has been made.

4) Ending the Backlog In September, former Police Chief Art Acevedo promised to reallocate pre-existing APD funds to test 484 backlogged rape kits. How that ends up happening remains an open question.

5) Bathroom Bill Bullshit Dan Pa­t­rick's rebranded bathroom bill, the "Women's Privacy Act," would ban trans people from using the restroom of their choosing. It became one of the Lt. Gov's top priorities and has the support of Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

6) Finally Free Two decades after their arrest and wrongful conviction of aggravated sexual assault against two children, the San Antonio Four were finally exonerated in late November.

7) Reject the Text The State Board of Education unanimously voted down the proposed racist and inaccurate Mexican Amer­ican Heritage textbook for public schools.

8) Anti-LGBTQ Legislation? Nearly 90 local businesses came out against anti-LGBTQ laws like North Carolina's HB 2, which banned trans folk from using bathrooms matching their gender identity.

9) Trans Inclusive Health Care for City Workers Though the law was passed in 2014, transgender inclusive health care for city employees went into effect on Jan. 1.

10) Making Austin Better After several racially charged events transpired in 2016, Mayor Steve Adler formed a racism task­ force to address the city's systemic inequalities, and later proposed the creation of an LGBTQ Quality of Life Commission.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Social Justice, David Joseph, Geoffrey Freeman, Monica Loera, Art Acevedo, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton, Women's Privacy Act, Steve Adler

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