Essay

by

An Irreversible Sentence

Using dubious evidence, Texas condemned Clinton Young to death almost 20 years ago. I traveled 3,000 miles to Texas to help him.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the Texas Observer’s May/June 2021 print edition. Since its publication, prosecutor Ralph Petty has su...Read More

by

Editorial: Look Down Ballot for Democratic Wins in Texas

The GOP-controlled state Legislature reconvenes next week. But Democrats flipped seemingly obscure seats, from justice of the peace to county sheriff, that have outsized impacts on Texas families.

After the 2020 election, it’s time for Texas Democrats to stop setting unrealistic expectations about top-ticket races and instead start focusing on the down-...Read More

In a Saturday, June 6, 2020 photo, people walk in Gould Park in Vidor, Texas. Several hundred people came out to the park on Saturday afternoon for a protest and peace march in honor of George Floyd who died while being detained by Minneapolis police. (Fran Ruchalski/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP) by

What the Black Lives Matter Protests Mean for East Texas

Protests where I grew up–where lynchings and KKK marches have occurred in my lifetime–could signal a shift in the region long plagued by racial terror.

The first time I thought I knew someone famous was when I saw a man we called Byrd on television. I lit up. Byrd, a Black man I recognized as a friend of my dad...Read More

graduation by

Raise a Glass to the Class of COVID-19

Maybe they will help build a post-pandemic world (or so I hope).

My senior year of high school was all about parties, prom, one last wild class camping trip, and midnight diner runs with friends before we all sped away to our...Read More

generic bookstore by

What’s a Bookstore for?

Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, booksellers were facing razor-thin margins, an uncertain future, and the threat of Amazon.

The people who work in bookstores are, by and large, very brilliant. My co-workers at BookPeople, a large independent bookstore in Austin, were no exception. I ...Read More

Inmates are seen inside the Harris County Jail on Friday, May 5, 2006, in Houston. State officials have ordered Harris County to raise staffing levels to the state mandate at its overcrowded jail, and county officials said Friday they hope to avoid having to ship inmates elsewhere in the state. (AP Photo/Melissa Phillip, Pool) by

In a Pandemic, Poor Defendants Could Pay With Their Lives

COVID-19 lays bare the fundamental inequalities that a cash bond system creates, and highlights the unsafe conditions our jails and prisons have designed.

I arrived at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office before 7 a.m. on Friday, March 13. The calls for action to stop the spread of COVID-19 had been buildi...Read More

A person holds up a drawing of a mother and child in front of a house. by

Loneliness in the Age of Coronavirus

As a single parent, I was already struggling with loneliness. Then the coronavirus hit.

Before the coronavirus, America already had an epidemic: According to a 2018 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five Americans say they often feel l...Read More

Director Greg Whitely has said that cheerleaders are “the toughest athletes I’ve ever filmed.” by

‘Cheer’ Takes an Overlooked Sport Off the Sidelines

The Netflix show about a Corsicana cheerleading squad’s journey to nationals explores an indignity I remember well from my time as a high school dancer: training for intense athletic competitions while being reduced to halftime entertainment.

My nose hovered just centimeters above the scuffed basketball court, legs folded beneath me in a perfect Z, my back flat enough to serve tea on. As a chugging s...Read More

Top