On July 14 the NAACP Annual Convention will take place in San Antonio, Texas. The convention coincides with the 100th anniversary of the San Antonio NAACP Branch. It is an honor and a privilege to represent Texas House District 120 at such an exciting time in our history. Our city is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year and on this anniversary, I think it is appropriate to look back at how far we have all come.
The first waves of African Americans to come to Texas arrived as slaves before the Republic of Texas gained its independence from Mexico. Many years later, after the Civil War ended and after African Americans in Texas were freed the long march towards equality began in earnest. During the Civil Rights era Texas became a major hub of activist activity. In 1946, a postal worker named Heman Sweatt applied to the University of Texas School of Law and was denied admission because of segregationist policies. He sued the University with the assistance of the NAACP and eventually the US Supreme Court ruled in Sweatt’s favor. That decision was one of the first major stepping stones to the full integration of schools in the United States.
Our state was also witness to several visits from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who gave speeches across our great state. San Antonio now commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King with the largest Martin Luther King Jr. march in the world. With its long legacy in civil rights history it is therefore appropriate that Texas and San Antonio were selected to host the national NAACP Annual Convention. As the Representative for House District 120, I am immensely proud that our city was chosen to host the event.
The past few months have also seen a number of important developments at our state capitol that I would like to share with you all. I sit on the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence which recently held a hearing on “Red Flag” laws which would provide for a system of emergency protective orders to remove firearms from individuals who are known to be a risk to themselves or others. Red Flag laws stand at the intersection of gun ownership and mental health. These laws are intended to only remove firearms from individuals who suffer from mental illness and who are likely to use those firearms to harm others or themselves. The committee is taking great care to respect individual rights and to move forward with all necessary care to preserve life.
Finally, there are some upcoming committee hearings that I would also like to share. The Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security is meeting at 9 AM on July 18th and July 24th in the Capitol Building Extension, Room E1.036. This meeting will explore steps that could be taken to improve school security and to prevent further senseless tragedies. Another of my committees, the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism will also meet at 10 AM on July 18th in the Capitol Building Extension, Room E2.010 to discuss the impact of Hurricane Harvey as it relates to historic sites and buildings, arts and culture, and travel and tourism in our state.