Dear D5 Neighbors,

Early voting begins April 19, so it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. This Saturday, April 3, District 5 for Black Lives is hosting a contactless canvas to educate voters about the harmful impact of Proposition B, which would make it a crime to be homeless in Austin.

Let’s face it: we’re all tired. The pandemic has impacted each of us in different ways. And yet, in the midst of this public health crisis, Proposition B would deprive vulnerable Austinites of the ability to rest. We know that Black Austinites are disproportionately represented in the unhoused community, and that the camping ban will cause further harm by increasing the police presence in their lives. Prop B makes it a crime to sit or lie down in certain parts of Austin. And while the term “camping ban” may conjure images of tents, in the past, unhoused people were often cited just for resting in public with their belongings.

At our relational organizing training this week, hosted by Homes Not Handcuffs, we learned that ordinances like Prop B create a kind of artificial insomnia for unhoused people. Many are forced to choose between sleeping in public, where they will be frequently roused by the police, or hiding in spots that feel unsafe. Either way, the result is stress, hypervigilance, and sleepless nights.

We can’t rest until they can rest. That’s why we’re asking you to join our canvas this weekend and help turn out compassionate voters against Prop B.

Together we’re strong. Last week, our calls, emails, and meetings with Council Member Kitchen helped move her to demand that any new police cadet class be accountable to the recommendations of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force.

Here are three simple ways to flex our community muscles and help make District 5 a better place for all:

1. Join us for Contactless canvassing on Saturday, April 3, from 10 11am-2pm or 2pm-6pm. We’ll be leaving “No on B” literature at the homes of likely voters who are sympathetic to social justice causes. Training and support will be provided; all you need is a mask, some water, and your walking shoes. The event can be done safely and in a socially distant way. Sign Up

2. Phonebanking from the safety & comfort of your home on Saturday. Training and support will be provided, and you will primarily be talking to District 5 voters likely to be supportive of our message of hope, justice, and compassion for our homeless neighbors. Sign Up

3. Donating to the No on B effort via Homes Not Handcuffs. The so-called “Save Austin Now” campaign has the backing of major GOP players in the local area and significant sources of PAC money. Your donation can help educate the community about the harm that Prop B will cause. The provided link will focus the money on efforts targeting District 5—which not only helps defeat Prop B, but also sends a strong message to Ann Kitchen that her constituents care about the human rights of the unhoused! Donate Here

We look forward to connecting with you this weekend,

D5 organizing team