The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Texas Civil Rights Project

Grant Information
Categories Community
Location Texas
Cycle Year 2023
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) OFICINA LEGAL DEL PUEBLO UNIDO INC (dba Texas Civil Rights)
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
EIN 74-1995879
Contact Information
Contact Name Mr. Ricardo Rivera
Phone 713-256-6423
PO Box 17757
Additional Information
Used for The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) respectfully requests a one year investment of $10,000 to advance the work of our three core programs: Voting Rights, Criminal Injustice, and Beyond Borders.
Benefits Through our unique, community-centered approach to lawyering, TCRP works in partnership with a diverse group of allied organizations to target and uproot the causes of inequity and injustice in Texas: a political system that systematically suppresses the voice of the majority in favor of the privileged few; a legal system that incarcerates more people than any other state and withholds justice to those without means; and a government with a history of discrimination against people of color, immigrants, women, and people with less means. TCRP provides a range of legal services and support – litigation, legal training and advice, public education, and advocacy of law and policy – with and for our movement partners and the communities with whom we are seeking empowerment. At the same time, we rely on our allies and their memberships to help us understand the priorities of the communities we serve — what keeps folks up at night and motivates them to take to the streets, as well as what issues we can win by melding legal strategies with community organizing strategies.
Proposal Description

Funding will support TCRP’s three core legal and advocacy programs, which fight year
round to ensure that the voices of Texans in institutionally marginalized communities are
amplified. We provide critical legal and advocacy support with our dozens of allied
organizations to ensure Texas is fair and just for all communities, not just those with
power and means. Our programming is comprised of three critical focus areas: Voting
Rights, Criminal Injustice, and Beyond Borders.
Voting Rights
Our Voting Rights Program tackles the systemic issues that prevent a thriving
democracy in Texas — issues that leave us with a government that fails to reflect Texas’
rich diversity, is not properly responsive to the needs of everyday Texans, and shields our
statewide officials from accountability. We seek to achieve a more just, more democratic
Texas by working closely with grassroots organizations and community leaders to use
the power of the law to protect the freedom to vote for all Texans, especially those who
have been traditionally excluded from power.
In midterm and presidential election years, TCRP works in coalition with our partners at
Common Cause Texas, the ACLU of Texas, the League of Women Voters of Texas, and
the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to run a Texas-sized election
protection program. We engage a diverse collective of civil rights organizations,
community organizers, legal organizations, pro bono volunteers and others. Our
multi-faceted, statewide campaign focuses on training and recruiting legal volunteers to
staff the largest hotline in Texas to answer voters’ questions and ensure that they are
able to cast a ballot that counts, executing a robust voter protection field program with
trained volunteers stationed outside of polling places, using digital tools to educate
voters and monitor reports of barriers to the ballot box from the field, and providing
on-hand legal counsel to fight for Texas voters in court, when necessary.
Another of our critical voting rights efforts is advocacy for local election improvements —
a campaign we call Democracy From the Ground Up to push for pro-voter reforms that
county voter registration and elections administrators can implement without the need
for state or federal action. Our aim is to educate the public, partners, and election
officials on ways they can improve election administration and better navigate Texas'
byzantine election law to ease voter access and make our elections more fair and safe.
Criminal Injustice
TCRP’s Criminal Injustice Program fights to bring justice and liberation to people
historically oppressed by the Texas criminal legal system. By pushing back against
police violence, discriminatory school discipline, wealth-based pretrial detention, and
other tactics that sell “justice” to the highest bidders, we challenge the systems that fuel
mass incarceration, systemic racial discrimination, and fundamentally unfair economic
barriers to true justice. Through targeted advocacy and litigation campaigns, we press
for transparency and to hold power accountable to communities, not corporate and
monied interests. As community-centered lawyers and advocates, our Criminal Injustice
team represents community groups and everyday Texans, and works closely with local,
state and national partners to advance this mission.
Notably, our Criminal Injustice program expanded in 2022 to include specialized legal
support for charitable bail funds after the Texas legislature passed a new law imposing
severe restrictions and onerous reporting requirements on their work. TCRP’s team is
helping charitable bail funds to understand and navigate the new law so that they can
continue to bail out Texans incarcerated pre-trial simply because they lack the means to
pay bail. While this effort is important to reduce harm to all people at risk of languishing
in jail pre-trial, it also plays a particularly critical role in the mitigation of retaliation
against activists arrested for protesting.
Beyond Borders
Through our Beyond Borders program, TCRP empowers border communities by fighting
discriminatory policies that prevent social and economic equity. With an office in the Rio
Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border, our Beyond Borders program has been
dedicated to defending the rights of immigrant and borderland communities since the
founding of our organization three decades ago. Working closely with community
partners and allies, our Beyond Borders team aims to eliminate policies that perpetuate
the harmful effects of militarization, cultural erasure, imprisonment, and exclusion along
the Texas-Mexico border and across the state. By challenging harmful policies such as
Title 42 and Texas’ Operation Lonestar, we fight for thriving communities and
interconnectedness across peoples, cultures, and natural environments.