Five stories that have North Texas talking: Richard Linklater-directed ad calls for action against Senate Bill 6; this Plano man walks 15 miles to work five days a week; the state’s foster care system hires 400-plus employees; and more.
A new ad is asking Texans to make a stand against the so-called bathroom bill by taking a seat. The minute-long commercial was created by GSD&M, an Austin-based ad agency, and Oscar-nominated director and native Texan Richard Linklater. It’s part of a campaign that launched Monday from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and nonprofit Legacy Community Health called, “I Pee With LGBT.” The campaign and Linklater’s ad aim to inform Texans about Senate Bill 6 and its social and economic repercussions.
If passed, it would mandate that transgender people use bathrooms, locker rooms or other sex-segregated spaces in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on “biological sex” instead of their gender identity. The bill would also block local nondiscrimination ordinances that guarantee transgender people the right to use the facilities that matches their gender identity. Several groups have condemned the bill and warned lawmakers of its potential damage, using North Carolina’s experience with House Bill 2 as an example. [KERA News]
- For decades, public schools across North Texas have endured demographic changes. From integration, then busing and white flight, followed by waves of immigration, economic troubles and competition from charter and private schools, the educational landscape has changed again and again. Today, we’re launching a new American Graduate series that explores these changes – it’s called “Race, Poverty and the Changing Face of Schools.” Education reporters have spent the past few months exploring life at four different high schools across North Texas: O.D. Wyatt in Fort Worth, Liberty in Frisco, Kimball in Dallas and Duncanville High. [KERA News]
- Emergency funding helped hire 441 new employees for the state’s troubled foster care system in December and January. Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman said Monday an additional around 250 staff should be hired soon, The Associated Press reports. The Legislature approved nearly $150 million for about 830 extra employees. The state’s leading lawmakers say fixing the foster care system is a top priority during this legislative session. In the reporting series, “Broken,” Texas Standard aims to get at the root of the challenges facing foster care in the state. Explore the series so far. [The Associated Press, Texas Standard]
- This Plano man walks 15 miles to work in McKinney five days a week. The reason Patrick, 52, makes the at-minimum two-and-a-half trek to Braum’s each morning is simple. “You can’t keep your job if you don’t go to work,” he tells NBC DFW. He used to work at a Braum’s in Plano, but he was transferred. Patrick’s daily constitutional caught the attention of a McKinney police officer, who offered him ride to work. The officer asked to take a photo with Patrick to share along with his story on Facebook. His Braum’s location has been flooded with calls from people wanting to help ever since. A woman even started a GoFundMe campaign for him. [NBC DFW]
- Black Texans have made historic strides not only for the state but also our nation. Bessie Coleman, who grew up in Waxahachie, was the first African-American woman to get her pilot’s license. Barbara Jordan of Houston was the first African-American woman in Congress from a Southern state. Alvin Ailey from Rogers, Texas was an influential dancer and choreographer, and he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company. Juanita Craft was a monumental leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Texas. These historic figures have all passed, but black Texans continue to affect the political, cultural and social landscape. Explore this database. [Texas State Historical Association]