Analyzing 2020: Racial justice and police reform

John Morrison, a community activist, speaks at a Black Lives Matter rally for George Floyd at Houston City Hall on May 29, 2020. Credit: Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

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Demonstrations for racial justice and against police violence began in Texas and across the country after the killing of Houston native George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. But as November’s general election approached, Republican politicians began to rally behind police, decrying protesters and campaigning on law and order. That helped turn a political tide that was working against Republican officeholders and candidates. But the underlying issues of police training, funding and mission await Texas lawmakers returning to Austin in January. Here are a few of my columns chronicling that story.

For a state in pain, a little empathy is only a start

Gov. Greg Abbott has avoided the president's militaristic tenor and has expressed empathy with nonviolent demonstrators protesting George Floyd's death. But the conversations about what's next haven't started. June 2

Coronavirus is not the only disease preying on community

The protests of the last week are about a disease that's bigger than the pandemic — and important enough for people to forget about social distancing. June 4

Events — and their own words — put Texas Republicans in an election year bind

Texas Democrats convened last week. But it was the state's Republicans giving them the most hope about the coming November elections. June 8

With elections coming, Texas Republican leaders join the thin blue line

Freezing local taxes in Texas cities that cut police funding sounds better than it works. But the political angle taken by the state's top leaders gives them something other than pandemic and recession to talk about this election season. Aug. 21

Austin’s police cuts give Texas Republicans new campaign material

Texas Republicans who were looking for fertile political ground in the runup to the November elections got a gift from a most unlikely source: the Austin City Council. Aug. 24

Two threats to local Texans, and two different responses from Texas government

Rising murder rates in Dallas are getting an aggressive response from Austin, with state police on their way to help. In the state's COVID-19 hot spots, local attempts to slow the spread are running into resistance from Austin. Nov. 20