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March at the Capitol for Trayvon Martin

On Tuesday March 27, 2012 a march was held for Trayvon Martin at the Capitol. Austin community members demanded justice for Martin's murder on February 26, 2012 in Sandford, FL. More photos can be found on the event Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/197134823722638/.




Everything is a Remix, So Steal Like An Artist SXSW Austin, TX 3/10/12

Feminist Flash Mob Protesting Larry Flynt & Sexual Exploitation Industry


Larry Flynt was in Austin, TX on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 speaking at Book People as part of his tour to promote his newest publication, One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History.

Sexual Violence Free Austin joined allies and advocates who stand in opposition to rape culture and the commoditization of women's bodies, the sexualization of young girls. R.A.G.E. - Radical Action for Gender Equality was also an organizer for peacefully protesting this event.

Larry Flynt has made a 400-million-dollar fortune from his pornographic empire, including cartoons such as "Chester the Molester", which follows the life of a pedophile, and his infamous publication, Barely Legal, that features very young women portraying even younger girls in a pornographic manner. Want to learn more about his most famous magazine, Hustler?

Sponsored by Sexual Violence-Free Austin and Radical Action for Gender Equality

Check out this:



Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala
A ZGraphix video production.

U.S. Boat to Gaza: Austin Solidarity Launch 6/26/11



CodePink Austin, along with other friends and supporters of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, held a symbolic "launch" on the Pfluger Bridge over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Participants read excerpts from writings by Alice Walker and Kathy Kelly and the letter... to President Obama regarding the reasons for the trip to Gaza. Austin citizens were asked to stop and write messages to the passengers and participate in other symbolic actions.

This event took place on June 26th, 2011. Organized by CodePink Austin (http://www.codepinkaustin.com).

To learn more about the voyage please visit: http://ustogaza.org/

To read about US activists who prepare to break Israel's blockade on Gaza, please visit: http://electronicintifada.net/content/us-activists-prepare-break-israels-bloc...

Video produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.

This video is a ZGraphix production.

World Refugee Day Music, March & Rally in Austin

World Refugee Day March & Rally in Austin, TX 2011



Music from World Refugee Day March Rally in Austin, TX 2011



This video contains live Son Jarocho music from June 20th 2011; which was World Refugee Day, and it also marked a lengthy discussion at the Texas Capitol on Senate Bill 9 and House Bill 9, both immigration bills left pending in committee.

Outside the Capitol building, civil rights and immigration rights groups marched in opposition of those two bills and in opposition of an immigrant detention center being built outside San Antonio. The march was organized by Texans United for Families, but the immigration bills have stirred up plenty of controversy.

Other organizations joined the march including PODER, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, American Gateways, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Detention Watch Network, Grassroots Leadership, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Jail Project, Texans United for Families, San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement, Save Our Youth, Southwest Workers Union, Wilco Justice Alliance and Workers Defense Project.
To learn more about the movement and the detention center to be built outside San Antonio in Karnes, check out the Grassroots Leadership website (http://www.grassrootsleadership.org/).

This video is a ZGraphix production.
Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.

Click here for more photos and full-size videos.

SlutWalk Comes to Austin

 On June 11  SlutWalk will come to the Texas Capitol. The rally will begin at noon on the south steps of the Capitol and the march will proceed down Congress Avenue. SlutWalk Austin is part of an international group of events held in order to draw attention to victim blaming culture and empower survivors of sexual assault.

SlutWalk began in Toronto in April as a community reaction to a Toronto police officer advising women to avoid sexual assault by not dressing like "sluts". The enough-is-enough outrage that created the Toronto event has resonated with communities the world over. Seventy-eight cities have held or will hold a SlutWalk this year, which speaks to the need for change not just in one Toronto police officer.  These events show that we all need to confront the attitudes about respect and violence perpetuated by our culture. Here in Austin, two people are raped or sexually assaulted every day.

Through subversive language, the event aims to draw attention to the absurd justifications for violence we endure in our society. For more information on SlutWalk Austin, please see their site.

Thomas Jefferson Dance Party in Austin & Police Violation of U.S. Law


Watch in HD on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1bqZ2WZ284
Watch on blip.tv here: http://blip.tv/austin-indymedia-center/thomas-jefferson-freedom-dance-party-in-austin-police-violation-of-u-s-law-5253199

June 4, 2011 Austin Activists join forces to form a solidarity dance party in the Texas State Capitol Building, exercising their constitutional rights when Agent Harris from the Capitol Police harass and use unreasonable force against Austin Indymedia reporter Jeff Zavala. The Police Agent Black also refused to help a victim of assault.

Facebook event invite: May 28 2011 Adam Kokesh and friends were wrongly assaulted and arrested at the Jefferson Memorial for dancing. They will be back out next weekend and here in Austin we are planning a similar event in solidarity. Come out and dance to make people aware of the recent ruling making it "illegal" to dance at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. and also the brutality of police against peaceful protesters on May 28, 2011.


-And remember WE CAN DANCE IF WE WANT TO! “Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise, a specific against social awkwardness.” ~Thomas Jefferson.


This is a zgraphix production.

Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.


Austin's Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

All too often, the removal of street people is a hoped-for side benefit when a city undertakes major public works. From a certain perspective, any urban renewal project can look like a big plot to rid a city of its homeless population. Usually this ridding is not accomplished in a helpful way, for instance by doing something constructive about affordable housing. The perceived solution is to shove them out, get rid of them.

In Austin, the Waller Creek District Master Plan is underway. This is not just cosmetic surgery. There is real need for protection against flooding. That problem is being addressed by the first stage of the project, the Waller Creek Tunnel (designed by KBR, of Iraq military contractor fame), whose ground has been officially broken.

Once the tunnel is finished, then the real work begins — the renovation of the above-ground features of Waller Creek, which runs through a long stretch of downtown, and has been neglected. Some parts of the creek are surrounded by entertainment venues and other businesses that already bring in millions in tax revenue. Along other parts of the creek, homeless people live. The project encompasses not only the creek itself, but a big chunk of the city. This area will be revamped in a project with several stages, over an estimated 20 to 30 years.

The larger area affected by the long-term, overall project includes 28 acres of previously unreliable real estate that will be available for development. It has been dubbed Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone No. 17, which will pay a lot of the costs, though everyone else in the city pays too. (It shows up on the utility bill.) For this and other reasons, controversy has swirled around the massive and many-faceted Waller Creek master plan since it was conceived.

The words sound wonderful. Urban greenbelt improvement, smart growth, vibrancy, enhancement, economic viability — what’s not to like? The idea that Waller Creek will eventually resemble San Antonio’s River Walk is for some Austin residents a dream, and for others a nightmare.

One of the potential problems is access to the places where people experiencing homelessness need to go. It has even been suggested that the ARCH, a major center for much-needed help, should be moved. Many other agencies are either within the TIF area or so located that the people who need to reach them must travel through the TIF area. There is a great temptation on the part of property owners and businesses within that area to harass the homeless, making them as unwelcome as possible.

Homeless people are downtown not only to sleep and eat, but for medical care, job counseling, legal help, and to get their papers in order. Austin has worked hard to create resources for the homeless, and downtown is where the resources are. If people experiencing homelessness are to put their lives back together, the tools and assistance they need are downtown, and so is the public transportation to get to them.

Recently, the editorial board of The Austin Statesman published an opinion piece in which they speak of Waller Creek as “a waterway that suffers the twin indignities of neglect and abuse,” and “an environmental asset going to waste,” which the city ought to be embarrassed about. They say Waller Creek, if given a break, can meet its potential. They say they want to transform the creek "into the jewel it can be.”

There are people on Austin's streets suffering indignities of neglect and abuse. There are human assets going to waste, which should be an embarrassment to the city. There are people who could fulfill their potential, if given a break. There are homeless people who need to be transformed. And how about transforming Austin into the jewel of humanitarian awareness and activism that it could potentially be?

What is Austin doing about hiring the homeless for this ambitious, multi-staged, multi-million-dollar project? What is Austin doing about training people for these upcoming jobs?  There are unemployed and underemployed workers who might qualify, even if they are currently between addresses. What is Austin doing about seeking them out? Richard R. Troxell of House the Homeless has issued a challenge to the project's contractors: "Use Veterans, Homeless Veterans and Formerly Homeless Veterans to make up 51% of the employed people involved in the construction of this project."

At this moment, Austin is shaping up to be a case study of what happens when settled, monied interests clash with the needs of the ever-increasing urban homeless. It could become a case study of a city that forms the intention to do it right, and then follows through -- an enlightened place where people realize that "our entire city" means the poor, too. Beautiful Austin is in a position to show the world that a metropolis can flourish and, at the same time, help its least privileged citizens prosper. Austin has an unparalleled opportunity to set an example and be a shining light, and, yes, even create a crown jewel.


P. Sainath on Mass Media vs. Mass Reality

Video link here: http://blip.tv/file/5060225


Award-winning journalist P. Sainath - http://www.indiatogether.org/opinions/psainath/ - speaks on the failure of mass media to report and analyze the widening economic inequality in India and around the world. For the past decade, Sainath has been reporting on the epidemic of farmers committing suicide in India as a result of the collapse of the rural economy. Sainath's hard-hitting reporting for The Hindu newspaper forced other journalists to cover the story and government officials to act. A decade earlier, in the 1990s his dispatches from the countryside in the Times of India sparked a renewed interest in poverty in India. Those stories were published in his best-selling 1996 book, Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts. In a 29-year career as a journalist, Sainath has won over 35 global and national awards and been called "the conscience of the Indian nation" by other journalists. In 2007, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award -- Asia's most prestigious prize, often referred to as the "Asian Nobel" -- for Journalism Literature and Creative Communications Arts for his "passionate commitment as a journalist to restore the rural poor to India's national consciousness."

The event is sponsored by the University of Texas School of Journalism, the South Asia Institute, AID-Austin, and the Society of Professional Journalists-UT.

Location: University of Texas, Austin

Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
A ZGraphix/Austin Indymedia Production.

Day of the Fallen - Austin, Texas 3/2/11


Cardboard coffins lined Congress Avenue until all 138 of them filled the front lawn of the Texas Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

The coffins were painted black and represented the 138 Texas construction workers and laborers who lost their lives on the job in 2009. Their memories served as the rallying cry for the roughly 600 people who gathered at the Capitol in support of new legislation on workers’ rights and safety. The Workers Defense Project organized the rally and gathered lawmakers, clergy members and activists with the families of those who had died.

“The cause we’re here for today is not just a good one, but a sacred one,” one member of the church said at the beginning of the rally.
Political commentator Jim Hightower spoke at the rally to state the activists’ demands.

“We’re not just here to honor the memory of the workers,” Hightower said. “We’re here for just a little bit of justice. We’re not asking for the whole thing. If we were, we’d be asking for Wall Street salaries and benefits — now that would be justice.”

This justice comes primarily in the form of mandatory workers’ compensation, which would require every employer to provide wage replacement and medical benefits to any employee injured while on the job, said Billy Yates, an intern at the Workers Defense Project. As it stands, Texas is the only state that does not require such compensation, he said. He also cites simple things, such as required breaks, as important preventive measures.

“A construction worker dies every two-and-a-half days in Texas,” he said. “If Texas is 112 degrees during the summertime and workers don’t get a single break, you can’t really wonder why there are so many deaths in the construction industry.”

This lack of mandatory workers’ compensation, rest breaks in the work day and proper safety education all contribute to Texas’ reputation as “the most dangerous state in the union for construction workers,” a phrase that was repeated throughout the rally, Yates said.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, and Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, hope to change this. They are currently putting forth bills that would make workers’ compensation required for not only those injured on the job, but for the families who lost relatives in work-related incidents.

“It’s a simple bill in that it mandates that all businesses provide what every other business in every other state already provides, and that is compensation for workers,” Lucio said. “It is what’s just and it is what’s right.”

The event also included live music, prayers and stories of the hardships incurred by those injured on the job.

“When we are helping to build this state, we are wanted,” said one man, who is now confined to a wheelchair after falling 30 feet while working at a construction site. “But when we are injured, we are tossed aside.”

We have two new bills that have recently been filed and need the support of your local legislator. Please, use this link to find your state senator and representative: (http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us ) and ask your legislators to support...

HB 2196 / SB 1024 to prevent wage theft
Authors: Rep. Eddie Rodriguez & Sen. Jose Rodriguez
This bill will clarify the language in Texas Penal Code 31.04 (Theft of Service) which will enable local law enforcement to enforce the law against employers ; who do not pay their workers.

HB 1739 / SB 938 to provide workers compensation for all construction employees
Authors: Rep. Armando Walle & Sen. Eddie Lucio
This bill will require that workers compensation be provided for any and all construction employees in Texas; thus, reducing Texas' uncompensated care costs in hospitals, lowering property taxes, and lifting the burden off of taxpayers.

This is an Austin Indymedia & ZGraphix production.
Produced by Jeff Zavala.
Edited by Jeff Zavala & Matt Gossage.


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