Guest: Ali Lozano, MSW
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
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In this episode, I talk with Alesandra Lozano, known to colleagues and friends as Ali, who is the Director of Communications and Advocacy of the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), based in Houston, Texas. Ali shares how her own coming out experience as a lesbian in 2009 propelled her into grassroots organizing work for LGBTQ liberation. She landed in the electoral space in 2012, working to elect openly LGBTQ candidates in states like Wisconsin and Arizona. It was through these campaign experiences between 2012 and 2014 that Ali observed different voting rules and transitioned into expanding the electorate through voter registration work with an organization in Texas, which she has called home since 2013. Ali talks about the work being done by TCRP, specifically on voting rights, though they also have programs that address criminal injustice and immigrants’ rights (spoiler – all three are connected!). She explains how people can get involved with policy advocacy and provides specific strategies and tactics, such as paying attention to what is happening at the local level and showing up to county hearings and city council meetings to testify, and how organizations such as TCRP support these efforts. Ali outlines guidance when giving public testimony, discusses coalitions as a tool to build political power, and talks about how TCRP engages in coalition building by detailing their work with the diverse Texas for All coalition, which has unified around combating the increased attempts at voter suppression by the Texas legislature. The organizations of this historic, first-of-its-kind coalition work in different issue areas from reproductive rights to labor to LGBTQ equality, but all agree – policy that aligns with our values cannot move forward unless we protect the right to vote. She talks about TCRP’s strategy to work at the local level to pass pro-voter reforms as well as the importance of redistricting and what we can all do to have fair and true representation of our communities. Ali really gives us a master class in policy advocacy and organizing! I hope this conversation inspires you to action.
TCRP Twitter @TXCivilRights
TCRP Instagram TXCivilRights
TCRP Facebook @TexasCivilRightsProject
TCRP local reforms website: www.democracyfromthegroundup.org
TCRP redistricting website: mapsbythepeople.org