Texas Rising gets students involved in politics

Campus+organizer+Carla+Palacios+speaks+to+reporter+Alyson+Rodriguez+and+informs+her+on+why+students+on+campus+should+join+Texas+Rising%2C+an+on-campus+organization+that+seeks+to+empower+young+adults+to+get+involved+in+politics+Sept.+29.+

Annabella Mireles

Campus organizer Carla Palacios speaks to reporter Alyson Rodriguez and informs her on why students on campus should join Texas Rising, an on-campus organization that seeks to empower young adults to get involved in politics Sept. 29.

Alyson Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

As election season begins to creep up, it is important for UTEP students to know what is going on in their government both locally and nationally, especially since young people make up the majority of the demographic of voters.  

A great organization on campus that focuses on such topics is Texas Rising. Their mission is to create a more inclusive state and to promote equality and social justice for all Texans by organizing, advocating, voting and training future leaders.  

“Texas Rising is a student-led organization that seeks to empower young Texans to fight for progressive issues that they believe in,” said Texas Rising member Michael Gutierrez. “That can be anything from LGBTQIA+ rights, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, climate justice or reproductive justice.”  

The group is very involved in the community and is devoted to sponsoring activities focused on critical issues facing both local communities and the state of Texas.   

Some activities include voter registration drives, Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns, issue and candidate forums, hands-on political training, tabling events, attending rallies, organizing events in the community, creative direct actions and media events. There are chapters across Texas at almost every large university, including UTEP.   

“I’ve been in Texas Rising since May 2019 because one of my friends was the campus organizer before me,” said campus organizer Carla Palacios. “I then went to the summer institute where I was taught how to organize at school, learned about Texas government and politics, and how to get more involved in your community. We’ve been rebuilding the chapter from the ground up since COVID.”   

Currently the group holds voter registration tabling every Monday and Wednesday at the UTEP library to get students registered.  

There are also general meetings being held weekly, where the group discusses political topics such as El Paso Government 101 and other informational talks. Texas Rising also collaborates with many other groups around campus in order to advocate for issues.  

“Texas Rising is a great way of getting involved as activists or organizers in the community,” Palacios said. “People should join if they are interested and passionate about social justice issues. The group has fostered and built many organizers who have grown up to be leaders.”   

Gutierrez explained the importance of voting not only in national elections, but local elections.  

“It’s important to vote because it affects your life and the things you care about, especially locally, because a lot of people look to national elections as a time to go vote but it’s not,” Gutierrez said. “The things that are very important are state and local stuff because those affect your area and community directly. So, if you’re not actively involved in the community issues and community candidates that are running in your area, then you have people who are elected to positions that aren’t advocating for the same things you want to advocate and fight for.”  

Other progressive groups include Vote El Paso! which is an organization that helps and informs students how they can register and receive information about voting. IGNITE at UTEP equips young women to run for office and aims to increase gender representation. 

“The last day to register to vote before the next election is Oct. 11,” said Texas Rising advocacy and fields organizer Sofía Avant-Meir.  

To find out more information on Texas Rising follow them on Instagram @texrisingutep.   

Alyson Rodriguez is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on Twitter.