The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Texas is known for it’s cuisine, cowboy artifacts and Southern hospitality. It’s a state with deep-rooted traditions whose name comes from the American Indian word “tejas,” meaning “friend” or “ally” It’s an aspect of our history that we love: our state motto is “Friendship.” However, the state is threatening this Texas tradition with the introduction of Senate Bill 6, a discriminatory piece of legislation which would directly target LGBTQ Texans.
On January 5, 2017, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced a piece of legislation, SB 6, that would limit the rights of our LGBTQ community. With the introduction of this legislation, Texas joins a number of other states that have proposed bills that would specifically target transgender and gender nonconforming individuals by requiring them to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex assigned to them at birth.
As I have realized throughout my time in NFTY-TOR, the movement for Reform Jewish Youth’s Texas-Oklahoma Region, it is our responsibility to speak out against discriminatory lawsbecause our tradition teaches us that all are deserving of dignity and respect, and because acts of hate and discrimination are unfortunately all too common throughout Jewish history.
With the knowledge that SB 6 contradicts the Jewish commandment of “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18) and NFTY’s resolution that affirms the rights and inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming peoples, NFTY-TOR is advocating against this bill. Since SB 6 would affect the entire state of Texas and a significant portion of our region, we know that we cannot not be silent on this issue.
NFTY-TOR has started a campaign in response to SB 6, encouraging our members to reach out to their state senators and representatives and urge legislators to vote against the bill. SB 6 is based on harmful rhetoric and seeks to codify a false, supposed threat posed by transgender people. If SB 6 is passed, it will take away the dignity and rights of LGBTQ people that all other citizens of Texas posses.
“Texas” is synonymous with “friendship” and SB 6 is nothing of the sort. Simply put, SB 6 is a discriminatory bill that violates civil rights and perpetuates inequality. Join me in fighting for a future where Texans of all backgrounds and identities are able to enjoy full and equal treatment under the law. Contact your state legislators today and urge them to oppose SB 6.
Maddie Newman is a senior at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas, and is currently serving as NFTY-TOR President and NFTY Delegate on the Commission on Social action. Previously, Maddie served as NFTY-TOR Social Action Vice President. Maddie will be attending the University of Oregon next year where she hopes to study Public Policy & Pre-Law.