Texas Civil Rights Project

                                                                                                 at the Michael Tigar
                                                                                                 Human Rights Center

                                                                           A Publication of Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, inc.

               Fall 2005, Volume XVI, Issue 1                                            

                 AT 15TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER
    In This Issue. . .                                   On Sunday evening, October 23,
                                               2005, TCRP celebrated its 15th Anniversary
                                               with a dinner and reception honoring guests
•   Paul Rusesabagina at 15th
                                               such as Renato Ramírez and Sarah Buel. With
    Anniversary Dinner . . . . . 1
                                               speakers Congressmember Harold Ford, Jr.
•   TCRP Welcomes New                          and Paul Rusesabagina, the dinner was a huge
    Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2    success, highlighting the valiant efforts of those
                                               in the trenches of the civil and human rights
•   News from South Texas and                  efforts across the globe.
    15th Anniversary Dinner                              Terry George, director of the film
    Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
                                               Hotel Rwanda introduced Paul Rusesabagina,
•   Harold Ford’s Message at
                                               and urged the audience to understand that
    TCRP dinner and El Paso                    “we are the solution to Africa in this room.”
    Settlement. . . . . . . . . . . . 4                  “Because the African economy is
                                               based on slavery, we owe it to them to help,”
•   West Texas News. . . . . . . 5             urged George. George ended his introduction
                                               with a plea for help to further the cause of Paul Rusesabagina speaks at TCRP’s 15th Anniversary Dinner
•   Case Update/Obituaries . .6
                                               human rights work and efforts in Africa.
                                                         As George exited and Paul Rusesabagina entered, the audience stood to recognize both. Rusesa-
•   Summer and Fall 2005 Law
    Clerks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7   bagina opened by thanking the crowd, saying it was a huge honor to talk about the Rwandan genocide.
                                                         Rusesabagina recounted the story of his experience during the Rwandan genocide, emphasizing
•   Texas Attorney General                     the loss of hope and the overwhelming feeling of despair everyone in Rwanda felt.
    Grant/Case Update. . . . . . 8                       “As we were driving to the hotel to find refuge,” Rusesabagina said, “soldiers stopped us and
                                               forced a gun in my hand. I told them that I didn’t know how to hold a gun, but even if I did, I would not kill
"I was very much impressed                     these people.”
     with what I saw and                                 The theme of courage and refuge stayed with Rusesabagina throughout the Rwandan genocide as
   heard… I can’t imagine                      he came to save over 1,000 lives by providing shelter and sanctuary in the Milles Collines hotel where he
there’s another organization                   was manager. The lives he saved and the work he continues for human rights in African and throughout the
 like the Civil Rights Project                 world earned Rusesabagina the Michael Tigar Center Award for Human Rights, given annually to a worthy
   anywhere. At least, I’ve                    recipient from the Texas Civil Rights Project.
   never come across one.”                               When asked, after the dinner, what his message to America would be, Rusesabagina answered,
       -Noam Chomsky                           “Stop supporting dictators. Throughout history, there may be different dancers, but they keep dancing to
                                               the same music. It must end.”
                                                                              -Report by Claire McKeever, Director of Grant Writing and Community Outreach at TCRP
                                                                                                  (For more about TCRP’s 15th Anniversary dinner, see pages 3 and 4.)

                             “Ladies and gentlemen, today, we are calling—those of us in Africa,
                                       those of us suffering—we are calling for help.”
                                        -Paul Rusesabagina, real-life hero of Hotel Rwanda
                                                                                                  TCRP Welcomes
                                                                                                 New Staff Members
                                                                       Claire McKeever-Claire is the new Director of Grant Writing and Community Out-
                                                                       reach in the Austin office. A native of Abilene, TX, she is a graduate of Baylor
                                                                       University with a degree in English and Professional Writing. Before coming to
                                                                       TCRP, Claire worked for Sojourners/Call to Renewal in Washington, D.C., as an
                                                                       event planner, writer, and activist.
                     Texas Civil Rights Project
                      1405 Montopolis Drive
                      Austin, TX 78741-3438                            Scott Medlock-Scott is the new Prisoners' Rights Attorney in the Austin office. He
                          512-474-5073                                 is a native of Littleton, CO, and graduated from Northwestern University with de-
                        512-474-0726 (fax)                             grees in History and Political Science, and from the University of Texas School of
                              Law. Scott has also worked for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal
                                                                       Action Project suing gun manufacturers and for Campaigns for People in Austin on
            To promote racial, social, and economic justice            the litigation against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action
                         throughout Texas.                             committee.

               Jim Harrington                   Director               Ernest Morris-Ernest Saadiq Morris leaves a private civil rights practice in Seattle,
                                                                       WA, "to focus on public interest impact litigation" as Staff Counsel for
Austin                                                                 TCRP. A former law clerk to U.S. District Judge Franklin J. Burgess, and a proud
          Wayne Krause                    Attorney                     alum of Howard University School of Law, he is committed to the credo of Charles
          Sheri Tolliver                  Attorney                     Hamilton Houston, Dean 1930-1935, that "(a) lawyer is either a social engineer
          Isaac Harrington                VAWA Attorney                or... a parasite on society."
          Gabby García                    VAWA Circuit Rider
          Jessie Hahn                     VAWA Circuit Rider
          Frank Cooksey                   Volunteer Cooperating
                                                                       Jessie Hahn-Jessie is the new East Texas VAWA Circuit Rider. A native of Nash-
                                          Attorney                     ville, TN, she has a BA in Anthropology from Reed College in Portland, OR and
          Jazz Hamilton                   Legal Assistant              has just returned to the U.S. after four years doing human rights work with indige-
          Scott Medlock                   Prisoner’s Rights Attorney   nous community organizations in southern Mexico.
          Ernest Morris                   Attorney
          Greg Moses                      Administrative/
                                                                       Jazz Hamilton-Jazz is the Legal Assistant at TCRP. Jazz is new to the Austin area,
                                          Web Assistant
          Chris Anderson                  Business Manager             having just moved here from Seattle, WA. Jazz works on intakes, jail mail, and
          Trish Kelly                                Legal Manager     other responsibilities as needed.
          Valerie Phillips                Director of Development
          Claire McKeever                 Director of Grant Writing/   Valerie Phillips-Valerie L. Phillips, a native Texan, has a BA from The University
                                          Community Outreach           of Texas at Austin and a MA from Bowling Green State University. She has exten-
South Texas
          Abner Burnett                   Director                     sive experience in media, development, and public affairs. Following a 20 - year
          Jaime Ortiz                     Office Manager               career in Washington, DC she relocated to Austin in 1996. She joined the Texas
          Sr. Moira Kenny                 Paralegal                    Civil Rights Project in August of this year as the Director of Development.
          Noemí Martínez                  VAWA Assistant
          Corinna Spencer-Schuerich       Consumer Rights Attorney     Gabríela García -Gabby is the West Texas VAWA Circuit Rider. A native of El
West Texas
                                                                       Paso, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Psy-
          Martha Chávez                   Border Rights Organizer      chology. Before working at TCRP, Gabby worked as a community organizer at La
          Edna Mezá                       VAWA Circuit Rider           Unión del Pueblo Entero in the Rio Grande Valley. In her spare time, Gabby con-
                                                                       tinues to volunteer at the Central Texas Immigrant Worker Rights Center where
                      BOARD of DIRECTORS                               she worked as an undergrad.
                     Maricela Martínez, President
                    Teresa Corona, Vice-President                      Patricia Kelly-Trish Kelly is the new Legal Manager of the Austin office. Trish,
                 Pablo Almaguer, Treasurer/Secretary                   a native of Buffalo, New York, recently relocated to Austin after completing her
                 Teresa Zulema Hernández, Member                       Master's Degree in African-American and African Studies at The Ohio State Uni-
                     Antonio Carrizales, Member                        versity. Prior to working at TCRP, she worked as a GTA, teaching African history
                       Angélica Pérez, Member                          classes at OSU and as an assistant to criminal defense attorney, Mark C. Collins,
                         Eva Watts, Member
                                                                       who successfully defended the "Highway Sniper" in Columbus, Ohio.

                                                                       Greg Moses-Greg Moses has joined the staff as administrative assistant, help-
  “The work of the Texas Civil Rights Project is                       ing with the website and other office chores. Greg is a graduate of both Texas
      critical in the struggle to bring about                          A&M University and the University of Texas, so he argues with himself a
          justice and equality in Texas.”                              lot. He teaches and writes in Austin.
                   César Chávez

                                            News From South Texas
                     South Texas Project Sues on Behalf of Victims of Forced Labor
                                                    Report by Sister Moira Kenny
            The South Texas Civil Rights Project has filed suit on behalf              Threats of deportation and physical violence were
  of two Guatemalan women who were victims of human trafficking and          used constantly to keep the women in a condition of imprison-
  forced labor.                                                              ment.
            The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are members of a Rio               During the two month period, the women were forced
  Grande Valley family who transported the women to the United States        to work more than 1,300 hours before they were able to es-
  after promising jobs, but forced them to work with no pay when they        cape the home through a window.
  arrived. The women were forced to work up to 21 hours a day over the                 We are representing the two women in their claims
  course of two months. They worked at an adult day care center in           for unpaid wages and other civil rights violations, as well as to
  Mission, as well as performing domestic labor in several homes.            obtain temporary legal status to enable them to continue as-
            At the day care, “They wanted us to dance and flirt and even     sisting the Mission Police Department in its investigation. The
  kiss old men, make them fall in love,” said one of the women. “ T h e y    Police Department has arrested two individuals in connection
  would take us to the flea markets to flirt with older men to get them to   with an ongoing investigation of human trafficking and forced
  come to the day care center.”                                              labor.
            The women received no compensation for their work, were                    The lawsuit asks that the defendants be held respon-
  not allowed to take breaks, and were denied adequate food and water.       sible, individually and as a group, for false imprisonment, in-
  They were also subjected to sexual harassment and were not allowed         tentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual battery & offen-
  to have contact with family or friends.                                    sive physical contact, threat of bodily injury; theft of service;
            “One of the defendants forced himself on one of the women        breach of contract, and fraud.
  and actually tried to drug her in order to get sex,” said STCRP director
  and attorney, Abner Burnett.                                               -Sister Moira Kenny is a paralegal in the South Texas Civil
                                                                             Rights Project office.

           Welcome to Noemí Martínez
            We are so happy to have Noemí join us here in San Juan.
  She has been with us only two months and has proven to be invalu-
  able already. As the VAWA assistant, she is interviewing new
  clients and translating the VAWA clients’ stories into English. She
  has also assumed the role of receptionist and Intake Coordinator.
            The mother of five-year-old Jay and two-year-old Winter,
  she describes herself as “an activist, writer, and poet.”
            Martínez runs an online distribution center for poetry and
  zines at A few years ago, she organized
  “Mujerfest,” a woman’s festival. Her work, which uses “the rich
  Rio Grande Valley folklore as background,” has appeared in several
  magazines and is carried in various countries including Austria and
  New Zealand and bookstores such as Atomic Books in Portland.                      The South Texas Civil Rights Project
            “Write to make your voice heard,” she says.                                      San Juan, Texas

                        2005 Award Recipients at 15th Anniversary Dinner
        On October 23, 2005 at the Texas Civil Rights Project’s 15th Anniversary Dinner, Sarah Buel and Renato Ramírez
were awarded the Henry B. González Civil Rights Award and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Philanthropic Award for Hu-
man Rights, respectively, for their work towards equality, justice, and peace.
        Sarah Buel, Clinical Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, has spent the past 28 years working with
battered women, abused children, and juveniles within the legal system. Renato Ramírez, president and CEO of IBC bank,
has given millions of dollars to orphanages in Mexico and contributed, just recently, $1 million to Texas A&M International
University scholarship programs.
        Both recipients offered comments in high regard of the Texas Civil Rights Project and encouraged the progressive
community of Austin to live, think, and act. Buel’s message was one of perseverance and hope as she recounted her own
story as a single mother, working her way into Harvard Law School, and establishing victims’ abuse programs in both Massa-
chusetts and Texas. Ramírez also offered a positive message, urging those with money to give.
        “If you have money, but not time, give it,” Ramírez said Sunday evening.
        Buel ended her acceptance speech quoting a prayer encompassing the theme of strength and courage, urging any-
one and everyone, no matter who you are or where you come from, to keep the faith and engage in the fight for justice,
protection, and equality.

     Ford Offers Encouragement and
        Challenge at TCRP dinner
                        by Claire McKeever
          Congressmember Harold Ford, Jr. joined the line-up
 Sunday evening, October 23, at TCRP’s 15th Anniversary din-
 ner. Ford was scheduled to speak in February at the annual Bill
 of Rights dinner, but had to cancel due to an unexpected trip to
          In his remarks, Ford said that the “responsibility now
 rests with us to restore luster and authority in the appropriate
          Interesting remarks from a man who’s grandfather was
 black and grandmother white, living in Memphis, TN during
 segregation and discrimination, long before the civil rights
 movement began. Ford’s grandfather worked at the well-                    Jeffrey Thornton, client of TCRP, and Harold Ford
 known Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis for years, cleaning and
 tending to the famous ducks that parade into the lobby of the hotel at specific times throughout the day.
          “It seems we take better care of ducks in this country than we do people,” Ford observed. “Poor people are
 more of a problem than Americans would like to admit. Americans would rather ignore than address the challenge.”
          Having built a reputation as a solutions-oriented lawmaker who seeks to replace partisan politics with fresh ideas
 and a pragmatic approach to the twenty-first century, Ford declared on Sunday evening that he will be the frontrunner for
 one of the Senate seats from Tennessee in the 2006 election. The audience provided fitting affirmation of this decision
 with cheers and rounds-of-applause.
          Speaking to the commitment of America, Ford encouraged an America that “restores dreams” and strives toward a
 “national community.”
          “We must recognize and accept the great challenge to be ambassadors for good,” said Ford. “If we are actually to
 win a war on terrorism, we must first understand those with whom we work.”
          Offering encouragement and challenge to the civil rights community in Austin, Ford did not shy away from the
 tough issues of race, poverty, and war as he called for change, restoration, and hope.
          “We must make great strides to have great community,” said Ford. “We must have a renewed commitment and a
 renewed purpose to make life all that it can and should be.”
          Though political words from a political man, Ford provided the challenge and the optimism needed.
 -Claire McKeever is the Director of Grant Writing and Community Outreach at the Texas Civil Rights Project.
 She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Professional Writing in 2004.

     SETTLEMENT IN FEDERAL SUIT OVER 2003                                In addition, the City of El Paso has agreed to hire
      STUDENT DEMONSTRATION IN EL PASO                          police training expert Jack Ryan to evaluate and make
                                                                recommendations for El Paso PD and Socorro ISD re-
          After eight months of litigation, the City of El      garding training and procedures on use of force, de-
Paso, Socorro Independent School District, and the              escalation, First Amendment rights, OC pepper spray,
Plaintiffs who sued them over police misconduct at an           and discipline. Ryan is a frequent trainer of different po-
approved student demonstration at Montwood High                 lice departments in Texas, and a recognized national ex-
School on January 29, 2003, settled the federal suit, filed     pert.
earlier this year.                                                       The Plaintiffs were represented by Jim Harring-
          Seven Montwood students and a teacher filed           ton of the Texas Civil Rights Project, lawyers Michael
the civil rights case against the City of El Paso,19 police     Wyatt, Amanda Chisholm, Kevin McCary, and Soraya
officers, and Socorro ISD for excessive force and unlaw-        Yanar from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and El Paso
ful arrests during a student demonstration against imple-       attorney María Hernández.
menting block class scheduling. The Plaintiffs sought                    Plácido Hernández, one of"the Plaintiffs, said "we
damages for physical and psychological injuries, includ-        are all pleased to settle the case and we hope the proc-
ing payment of medical bills, and other expenses.               ess would build better police relations with the El Paso
          The settlement came about through the media-          community."
tion efforts of retired state district Judge Enrique PeZa.               Maria Hernández said "I am particularly pleased
As part of the settlement, Plaintiffs will receive a total of   with police department bringing in Jack Ryan to help re-
$195,000 that covers medical injuries, medical bills, inju-     view current practices. All El Pasoans will benefit from
ries, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.                         that."
                                                                                -Report by Jim Harrington, Director, TCRP

      Roundtable Discussion on TCRP’s VAWA Circuit Rider Program
                                                    Report by Gabby García
          On October 7th members of various domestic violence organizations in Midland and Odessa met for a round table presentation
about TCRP’s VAWA Circuit Rider Program. Representatives from seven organizations attended the event. Participants included area
shelters, counseling groups, crisis intervention agencies, and the local media.
          The goal of the presentation was to promote the Circuit Rider Program to agencies that frequently come into contact with bat-
tered immigrant women. Many of these agencies were not aware of the resources available to their clients through TCRP. Trainings of
this sort are especially important in rural areas where there are no other VAWA service providers due to unscrupulous attorneys exploit-
ing immigrant women seeking immigration services.
          The presentation was an enormous success. Participants not only received an overview of how VAWA can help immigrant
women, but they also showed an overwhelming interest in working together to tackle issues that immigrant women face. A few of the
problems discussed included establishing a better relationship with law enforcement/border patrol agencies to ensure that immigrant
women are not deported when they report a crime and the need for more Spanish-speaking counselors in the area.
          Advocates and shelter workers all agree upon the huge need for VAWA services in West Texas and all want to committ to
working with TCRP on community outreach and to assist clients with the necessary documentation when applying for VAWA services.
          TCRP was asked to facilitate a VAWA training for all interested Domestic Violence workers and was also invited to join the
local Domestic Violence Coalition. In April, TCRP will conduct a presentation on VAWA at a Domestic Violence Forum in Odessa.
          Due to the high volume of VAWA cases in the area TCRP hopes to hire a VAWA assistant that can work in the West Texas
region. The VAWA assistant would work out of area shelters so that TCRP could provide VAWA services to a larger number of women.

-Gabby García is the West Texas VAWA Circuit Rider in our Austin office, and she recently graduated from the University of Texas at
Austin with a degree in Psychology.

       Plans to Open a West Texas Civil Rights Project
                         Lubbock, TX, USA                                                      DID YOU KNOW?
                                                                                            Statistics From West Texas
         Currently, TCRP seeks grant funding to open a West Texas
Civil Rights Project in Lubbock, Texas. We have submitted grant pro-
                                                                               •   76% of El Paso is Hispanic.
posals and letters of inquiry this fall to various foundations.
                                                                               •   In El Paso, the census data shows the power-
         The impetus to create the “West Texas Civil Rights Project”
                                                                                   lessness of the Hispanic population:
came from requests of people in West Texas and encouragement of
faculty and students at the Texas Tech University Law School and the                    Families with less         14,686 10.3%
West Texas Innocence Project in Lubbock.                                                than $10,000 income
         The Innocence Project works to free people from prison that                    $10,000 to $14,999         11,250 7.9%
have been wrongly convicted and are innocent. Jeff Blackburn, a long-                   $15,000 to $24,999         23,317 16.4%
time, nationally respected civil rights attorney in West Texas and re-                  $25,000 to $34,999         20,964 14.7%
sponsible for the Tulia victory, heads the Innocence Project and is ea-
ger to collaborate with TCRP to begin the West Texas Civil Rights Pro-         •   60% of Lubbock is currently white.
ject in Lubbock. The desire of people in West Texas to acquire a vig-
orous proponent of human rights within the large, geographic region is         •   54% of the Lubbock and West Texas popula-
great, and TCRP has the well-earned reputation for advocating for the
                                                                                   tion will be Hispanic in 2040.
basic human and civil rights all citizens deserve.
                                                                               •   32% of the population in West Texas in 2040
         Collaboration with students and faculty members of the Texas
                                                                                   will be Anglo.
Tech University Law School in Lubbock makes this location particularly
attractive and potentially beneficial. Moreover, Lubbock itself is in a
central location for the West Texas region.
                                                                                     “TCRP Celebrates 15 Years
         We plan to use TCRP’s South Texas Civil Rights Project
                                                                                            of Service”
(STCRP), which the Public Welfare Foundation helped us begin, as a              Thanks to Marko Slavnic, film student at the Univer-
successful model for the implementation of the West Texas project.             sity of Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project now has a
         We desire to work closely with the people of West Texas to            DVD commemorating our work for the past 15 years.
                                                                                               Please visit our website at
ensure systemic change, empowerment, and implementation and prac-
                                                                       to see clippings from
tice of the rights promised by the Constitution of the United States                     the film, or contact Claire McKeever
and its Bill of Rights through education, advocacy, and litigation.             ( or 512-474-5073)
         The overarching goal is to enhance the rights and power of the        for copies of the DVD. We thank our clients, our sup-
                                                                                porters and friends, and each other for the excellent
Hispanic community as it becomes the majority group of West Texas,                      and diligent work over the past fifteen!
and to diminish its disenfranchisement.

                                                     CASE UPDATE
               Return to Home Campus: TCRP’s Win for Boy with Downs Syndrome
                                           by Sheri Joy Tolliver, Staff Attorney, TCRP
          This summer TCRP won a major education case in East Texas on behalf of Daniel, a twelve-year-old boy with Downs Syn-
drome. Alba Golden ISD, the school Daniel attended since kindergarten, removed the boy from his home campus and placed him in a
segregated “Life Skills” school, nearly 30 miles away from his home. The children in the “Life Skills” school all have disabilities and
are kept completely apart from the other non-disabled children in the district. The Life Skills children spent much of their day doing
manual chores, including laundry for the regular education campus.
          During the trial, witnesses testified that Alba Golden ISD had previously banned Daniel from attending classroom parties and
outings. At one point during a valentine’s day party, the elementary principal called the police to have the child and his mom arrested
and forcibly removed from the school.
          Although Alba Golden ISD preferred to segregate its students, the students befriended Daniel. Immediately following the dis-
trict’s decision to remove Daniel from campus and to place him in the Life Skills school, many district children wrote letters on Daniel’s
behalf and attended a school board meeting to testify how much they wanted Daniel to stay in their school. During the trial, Daniel’s
mom testified that her son missed his friends at Alba Golden ISD and could not understand why he was no longer allowed to go to
school with them. She testified that Daniel would often look through the school picture book, point out his friends, and cry.
          Last month, the Texas Education Agency ruled that Alba Golden ISD’s actions violated the Individuals with Disabilities Educa-
tion Act (“IDEA”) and ordered the school to include Daniel in all school activities. The decision requires Alba Golden ISD to reenroll
Daniel at his home campus and to provide appropriate support and service so Daniel can succeed in the regular education placement with
his non-disabled peers. Sheri Tolliver, the attorney who represented the family, called the ruling a significant victory for Daniel and for
all East Texas children with disabilities.

            Karen Greebon: 1942-2005                                            Benjamin Grant Levy: 1927-2005
           Karen Greebon, a Texas civil rights leader who                        A generous contribution of $5,000 has been given to
fought against placing people with disabilities in nursing              the Texas Civil Rights Project in memory of Benjamin Grant
homes, died Sept. 19 in Austin. Karen’s passionate commit-              Levy who passed away on October 19, 2005 in Houston, TX.
ment to human rights led her often to TCRP, which repre-                         Ben was a local attorney and former Associate Justice
sented her in a number of disability suits.
           Bob Kafka of ADAPT said the week before her                  on the 1st Court of Appeals. He received his B.S. from City
death Karen was in Washington fighting against Medicaid                 College of New York, attended Southern Methodist Univer-
cuts despite her poor health. "She was one of the most really           sity, and received his J.D. from South Texas College of Law.
committed, hard-headed and strong-speaking women," he                            In 1957, Levy co-founded the Houston Chapter of
said.                                                                   the American Civil Liberties Union. Chairman of the Hous-
           Karen, who had cerebral palsy, was born in New               ton Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Levy was a proud
Braunfels. When her family could not take care of her any               humanist, liberal, Democratic Socialist, and always a close
longer, they placed her in a Luling nursing home. At the                friend of TCRP.
time, there were no in-home services for people with dis-                        The Houston Chronicle reports, “[Levy] spent a life-
abilities. She lived there for 12 years.
           "I can tell you it is no place for children, young           time of advocacy for free speech and other civil liberties. He
adults or old people," Karen said at a 1993 protest urging the          championed the rights of farm-workers in Crystal City, the
Texas Department of Human Services to allow people with                 struggle for integration, the aims of anti-war protestors at the
disabilities to live in community-based homes.                          LBJ ranch, and the perpetual efforts to achieve international
           United Cerebral Palsy helped her become independ-            peace and cooperation.” (10/21/05)
ent, and in 1990 she became an active member of ADAPT,                           TCRP is thankful for this contribution in Benjamin
where she met her partner of 14 years, “J.T.” Templeton.                G. Levy’s memory and for the dedication, service, and work
Together, they worked together to implement the Americans               Levy demonstrated throughout his life in the area of civil and
with Disabilities Act. In 1998, they moved into a home to-              human rights. Ben taught us how to stick with it, through
gether with the help of A Home of Your Own, a program
that offers low-interest loans to people with disabilities.             thick and thin.
           "The issue of getting and keeping people out of in-
stitutions is a civil rights issue," Kafka said. "Karen should
be held up as one of the leaders of civil rights in Texas. If
                                                                          “Our lives begin to end the day we become
one had to write a bumper sticker for Karen, it would say,                  silent about the things that matter.”
'Our homes, not nursing homes.' That's something she felt
deep in her heart."                                                                Martin Luther King Jr.
           We will miss Karen’s passion for justice, and her
indefatigable work for civil rights in Texas.

   Thank you to our TCRP Law Clerks for Summer and Fall 2005!
                                                                      Summer 2005 Law Clerks:
                                                                         (pictured at the left)
                                                                             Aaron Garza
                                                                             Elaine Alvear
                                                                                Sara Brin
                                                                            Heather Busby
                                                                             Vivian Chum
                                                                            Megan Ehrlich
                                                                       Karla Gilbride (and Jude)
                                                                            Amy Goldman
                                                                              Jean Kosela
                                                                              Tammy Lin
                                                                          Deepinder Mayell
                                                                             Nelia Robbi
                                                                               Emily Tulli
                                                                             Katie Walters
                                                                             Kevin Wilkes

        Please contact Wayne Krause at                                   Fall 2005 Law Clerks: for more                              Shirley Horng
   information about our law clerk program.                                    Patsy López
                                                                             Sarah Mendola
                                                                            Daniel Crumby

The TCRP law clerk program is nationally renowned, and this year we were lucky
     to have students from all over the country participate in our program.

           We were able to office 16 students this summer and 4 this fall.

     Please visit for more information about
                             our law clerk program.

     TCRP Thanks Volunteers                                We Need the Following Volunteers
                                                                   for the Spring:
      for time, service, and
          commitment!                                1)   Marketing and Development
                                                     2)   Help with newsletter and website
         In addition to our law clerks, the          3)   Grant research and assistance
 work of TCRP could not be done without              4)   Legal filing and other office chores
  the valuable assistance of its volunteers.
    A big “thank you” goes out to TCRP                     Please contact Claire McKeever at
   Volunteers for Summer and Fall 2005.      for more
                                                       information on volunteer opportunities.

                        Grant and Case Updates:
        Texas Attorney General Grant and Disability Cases in Texas
          With the assistance of a grant funded by the Texas                    ADAPT of Texas and TCRP, under the able lead-
Attorney General, TCRP has expanded VAWA services to                  ership of Wayne Krause, the TCRP staff, and with the hard
5 Texas counties (two Council of Governments) in the El               work of the summer law clerks, filed 15 federal suits through-
Paso area and 5 counties in northeast Texas (3 Council of             out Texas on July 26, the 15th anniversary of the Americans
Governments).                                                         with Disabilities Act, to draw attention to the positive differ-
          Two paralegals were hired to fill this need—Jessie          ence that the ADA has made and continues to make in the
Hahn for northeast Texas and Edna Meza for El Paso. Each              lives of people with disabilities.
are currently conducting outreach to build relationships and                    The suits, part of a statewide campaign called "A
assess the need for these services in those areas.                    Day in the Life of the ADA," are intended to improve the
          In addition to filing the necessary applications on         accessibility of such facilities as restaurants, post offices, and
the client’s behalf, they will conduct outreach presentations         sidewalks, while also raising public awareness about the seri-
and trainings to advocates in their respective areas. In Cen-         ous problems that accessibility barriers pose to disabled peo-
tral Texas, Isaac Harrington, TCRP VAWA Attorney and                  ple trying to go about their daily activities and about the
Coordinator, continues to provide service to 20+ counties             significant progress that still needs to be made, fifteen years
in 6 Council of Governments (COG’s).                                  after the ADA’s passage.
          Under Gabby Garcia’s grant, we have been able to                      The suits dealt with accessibility problems in Aus-
hire a former Spanish-speaking VAWA client to be based in             tin, Beeville, Fredericksburg, El Paso, Coleman, Houston,
the Midland/Odessa area who can assist with application               and San Antonio. Our South Texas staff did a similar cam-
preparation. We are working with local shelters to set up an          paign in Rio Grande Valley.
office for her. Due to the high demand for Spanish-speaking
advocates in the area, Gabby helps provide the service and
                            Pictures from our 15th Anniversary Dinner
               Thank you to all of our guests and sponsors for making this night a reality.

           Tom Meredith, Ben Barnes, and Jim Harrington                                  Charles González and Sarah Buel

                Renato Ramírez and Wayne Krause                                  Norma Cantu, Charles González, and Ben Barnes


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