With a certain amount of confusion swirling around many, many elements of this process, let’s clear up some things here based on reliable advice.

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Courtesy photo: Brittany Jenise Gamez, who voted early!
  1. You can vote anywhere in Bexar County on Election Day, not just at a single voting location you’ve used in the past or understand you are assigned to. You can vote ANYWHERE. And voting locations are open from 7 am to 7 pm. That means if you’re in line when the polls close, you can still vote. But get there earlier, obviously. And 7:01 p.m. by their clock is officially too late. You were warned.

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and while our thoughts may traditionally turn to “turkey, trimmings and time with family,” it’s important to acknowledge another important day.

November 20, 2019 is “Equal Pay Day” for Latinas, an acknowledgment of just how far into the year Hispanic women had to work to earn the equivalent of what white, non-Hispanic men earned the year before. Shocking? It should be.


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Domestic violence affects one in three women in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence. For one in four, the domestic violence is severe. (Stock photo.)

I’ve spent much of my free time for the past few months analyzing almost 100,000 domestic violence cases in Bexar County over the past 10–20 years (10 for felonies, 20+ for misdemeanors). I also read widely in the domestic violence and criminal justice research literature, consulted at least weekly — often daily, sometimes hourly— with experts, and attended several court-mandated offenders’ groups, one for men and one for women (with attendees’ permission).

Regarding the data, which was available on the court system’s website going back 10 or 20 years, I started by looking at two particular domestic violence felonies, then…


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It’s so weird to me that in 2019 we still use a word, “battered,” whose first known usage was in 1593, as such a common descriptor within the domestic violence/intimate partner violence space. There are “battered women,” “battered women’s shelters,” offenders who are known as “batterers,” and so on. But what does this language convey, and is it time for an upgrade?

Years ago, we used to talk about “connotative” and “denotative” meanings of words and their symbolic power, thanks to linguist S.I. Hayakawa and his colleagues. Denotative is the clinical, actual dictionary definition of a word — no misinterpretations…


Being and conveying that you’re sorry turns out to be an important life skill

Many years ago, I managed a mediation program in Seattle where 400 lawyers worked pro bono to resolve cases pending in Superior Court. Most of what we handled were car accidents, and my boss at the time — who had founded the program, and was a persuasive, folksy and very successful defense lawyer himself — told me terrible tales about how very far cases could get once individuals lawyered up, that could have been settled long before with a simple apology. “All I wanted was for him (usually, the other driver) to visit me in the hospital and apologize,” he…


Benjamin Franklin, put down that smartphone! We need you to invent cool stuff instead.

If Ben Franklin were alive today, would you find him obsessively scrolling Facebook on his phone? Would Thomas Edison be in his workshop, or on an app? And how about Abraham Lincoln — laboriously drafting the Gettysburg Address until he had it just right, or looking up just the right GIF to post with his Tweets?

For the purposes of this question, really go ahead and substitute any favorites you have in the category of powerful world-changers from days gone by, and let’s think about what…


The Shortest Days of the Year Offer a Great Opportunity for Reflection, Stillness and Contemplation

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In winter, the “darkest” season of the year, we also find ourselves drawn to the light — of stillness, contemplation and reflection.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.” — British poet Edith Sitwell

In Chinese five element theory, winter is a season of stillness and contemplation, in which our energy contracts to just what is most essential. In the natural world from which Chinese medicine takes its cues, we are back to the germinative stage, stored deep inside the earth, so that…


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Air Force veteran Mary Tener Davidson Hall was part of the second class to graduate from the Basic Officer Military Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. She served as a supply officer at Komaki Air Base in Japan, among other roles and duty stations. She was featured last year on VA’s website as “Veteran of the Day,” but this photo is from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Library’s Special Collection featuring the Women’s Overseas Service League.

San Antonio, the nation’s seventh-largest city, is home to quite a few U.S. military veterans — more than one in 10 residents alive today in “Military City, USA” have served their country in various capacities, including combat, from World War II until today’s conflicts.


San Antonio has a long and storied history as “Military City, USA,” and it’s no surprise that between the warm and sunny climate, friendly hospitality and reasonable cost of living so many former service members both male and female make their home in the nation’s seventh largest city. All branches of service are well-represented here, although many service members and family members from other parts of the country may have had their first introduction to San Antonio through one of its many military installations or world-famous military medical facilities.

In terms of extraordinary valor as well as service, many San…


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Danish artist Erik Henningsen’s painting, “Eviction.” (1892). Collection of the National Gallery of Denmark.

Matthew Desmond won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for “Evicted,” his devastating and densely researched narrative of those who profit from — and those whose lives are indelibly affected by — the business of forcefully removing residents from their homes for non-payment of rent, among other infractions. As Desmond, a professor of sociology now at Princeton University, explains, not all evictions even pass through the court system. Many are handled informally, as landlords tell tenants they’ve had enough and it’s time to go. …

Lily Casura, MSW

Focused on using data as a tool in research & policy decisions. IWMF grantee. NASW-TX and Tableau Public award winner. UTSA, Harvard honors grad. Ph.D. student.

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