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History of Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, Inc and The Texas Civil Rights Project
"I was very much impressed with what I saw and heard. I can't imagine there's another organization like the Civil Rights Project anywhere.
Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, Inc., was created in 1978 as a community, grassroots foundation to provide legal assistance and education, without cost, to poor and low-income people, particularly minority persons and individuals victimized by discrimination.
In September 1990, OLPU established the Texas Civil Rights Project as one of its programs.
TCRP began with an unpaid staff of two in the Austin Peace Building (an attorney and an office manager). Within a few months, TCRP was able to hire an attorney for its South Texas office. TCRP now has a staff of eight in Austin, and four in the Rio Grande Valley – and owns its offices in both places. TCRP also has recently employed an organizer in El Paso and a Houston area regional director
For 15 years, the Texas Civil Rights Project has been a tireless advocate for racial, social and economic equality in Texas, through its education and litigation programs.
Some of the Achievements We are Most Proud of
Handled more than 700 cases
The South Texas Project has worked steadfastly to extend equal rights to farm laborers and colonia residents in the Rio Grande Valley, and improve their living and working conditions.
We have sued over every kind of misconduct in every part of Texas -- city police, sheriff deputies, Department of Public Safety officers, and Border Patrol agents. Because of our work, jails in Hidalgo, El Paso, Henderson, Tom Green, Williamson, Travis, Bexar, Dallas, and Brown Counties do much more now in preventing inmate suicide, providing interpreters for deaf prisoners, protecting vulnerable inmates from sexual assault, administering HIV medications, and making them accessible for inmates with disabilities.
TCRP set the national model in ballot accessibility for blind voters and has led at least 17 regional compliance campaigns in Texas under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Thanks to the efforts of our staff, churches and courthouses in Texas are much more accessible to elderly and disabled people.
We are assisting the NAACP is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to withhold federal funds from the Austin Police Department until it changes its use of force practices in the city’s minority communities.
We joined with the American Jewish Congress in one of the first court cases in the country to challenge the constitutionality of government funding of a religiously orientated job-training program that used the Bible as a text and proselytized among its trainees.