New Voices Texas LOBBY DAY 2023

Join us at the Capitol in Austin on Monday to fight for a New Voices bill in Texas!

House Bill 5266 was filed by Rep. Erin Zwiener last week and now it’s time for us to demand that lawmakers pass it. 

We have scheduled appointments to allow supporters to speak directly with lawmakers and their staffers, especially those on the Texas Public Education Committee. And now we’d like to share the details of when to be there, where to park and what to expect when you get to the Capitol. 

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting into downtown Austin by 8:30 a.m. at the latest because traffic and parking are expected to be bad because of the SXSW Conference taking place at the same time. And we highly suggest that you park at the Capitol’s official Visitors Parking garage between San Jacinto Blvd. and Trinity St. It’s much cheaper than other garages and lots nearby. However, if that garage is full, here’s a website that you can use to look up other lots and garages nearby

We ask that participants find us by 9 a.m. at our meetup spot in front of the African American Monument near the southern edge of the Capitol complex. See this map to find the meet-up spot. We plan to train attendees and go over directions and procedures right at 9 a.m. so please don’t be late!

After meetings with various lawmakers, we plan to finish our meetings by 2 p.m. and end the day with a debriefing by 3 p.m. If you still would like to join us, please fill out this Google Form as soon as possible so we know how many to expect so we can purchase donuts and lunch for our participants.

We will have some expenses to pay for our lobby efforts so please consider making a financial contribution to help us pay our bills

Thank you all for your continued support of New Voices Texas. See you at the Capitol!


  • 9 – 9:30 a.m.: Meet at the Texas African American History Memorial for donuts and a small briefing.
  • 9:30 a.m. — Walk inside the Capitol and go through security checks. After security checks, we will find a meet up inside the Capitol Cafe for the rest of the day.
  • 10 a.m. – noon — Conduct meetings with legislators and/or their staff (each advocate will have a personalized schedule of meeting times).
  • Noon: Head back to the Texas African American History Memorial for a picnic pizza lunch.
  • 12:45 p.m.: Walk back inside the Capitol and go through security checks.
  • 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.: Conduct meetings with legislators and/or their staff (each advocate will have a personalized schedule of meeting times).
  • 2 p.m.: Meet at the cafe and then head back to the Texas African American History Memorial for a final quick debrief.
  • 2:30 p.m.: Lobby Day is over! Thank you for attending.

What to Bring: 

  • Throughout the day, we will work in groups to meet with various lawmakers and speak to them about the importance of New Voices legislation. Each lobby day attendee will receive a folder, complete with a set of printed materials to reference. While attending these meetings, it would be helpful to have the following:
    • Notebook and pen, for note-taking 
    • Water and snacks

What to Wear: 

  • Please try to dress professionally when meeting with legislators. Select comfortable shoes, as we will be walking across the Capitol grounds for each meeting. 
  • If you have a New Voices Texas t-shirt, that would be great to wear, as well.

How can I prepare? 

  • As student journalists, advisers, or people involved in scholastic media, we are very familiar with telling stories. A lobby day effort is all about personalizing the issue at hand. What specific experiences can you share about how you engage with your school, and greater community? 


  • All advocates that have signed up to attend, have been added to a GroupMe chat, “New Voices Lobby Day 2023,” for all communication during the day.
  • If you do not have the app, try to download it so that communication is easier (if you are unable to download the app, you will receive SMS messages from it).
  • If you are unable to use our GroupMe for any reason during the day, text our Legislative Officer, Amoli Agarwal, at 512-363-7916.

Student Press Freedom Day 2022

This Thursday, February 24th, students are preparing to participate in Student Press Freedom Day 2022, an important day of action aiming to amplify the efforts of student journalists nationwide and increase visibility for the key roles they play in their respective campuses and greater community.

As we reflect on the multitude of challenges that continue to threaten student First Amendment rights, New Voices Texas needs your help.

In conjunction with the Student Press Law Center, we encourage you to join us in celebrating scholastic media this week by taking action below.

How will you unmute yourself?


JOIN THE Conversation
Register for a Zoom discussion on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Learn more about the New Voices movement in Texas and our efforts to advocate for a state law to protect the rights of student journalists.
Pre-register HERE.
Facilitate a classroom discussion
Click to view a comprehensive resource document to aid in facilitating classroom discussion of student press rights in Texas.
We want to hear from you! Share a video response on our FlipGrid board with your perspective on student journalism.
What does student journalism mean to you? What can students do to raise awareness of the issues surrounding student press rights in Texas?
Get involved with New Voices Texas
Led by seven student officers and an advisor officer, New Voices Texas is committed to empowering student journalists across the state to build community and bolster our outreach efforts to continue advocating for free speech rights. Learn more on our website.

Central and South Texas Regional Organizer, Amoli Agarwal

As the Regional Organizer for Central and South Texas (ESC Regions 1, 2, 3, 12, 13, and 20) of New Voices Texas, I work to consolidate the ideas of student press freedoms with more extensive goals written in our Constitution throughout a wide range of groups in Central and South Texas. With outreach to student publication advisors and the use of platforms like Action Network, I seek to ensure that every student journalist in this region understands the various possibilities New Voices legislation can bring to newsrooms across Texas.

Amoli Agarwal

By working with school boards and administrators, I intend to increase the trust and transparency between student journalism efforts and school authorities in order to strengthen the overall purpose of our legislation. Through advocacy in high schools, I aim to extend our cause beyond student press rights by demonstrating its importance towards upholding American laws and ideals in order to gather the support of students and teachers not directly connected to student journalism.

My primary objective is to create and maintain connections with student journalists, high schools, officials, and teachers all over my region in order to raise awareness and support for this pivotal movement in student journalism. I aspire to advance an enduring impact on student journalists, allowing them freedom from censorship and unjust consequences.

West Texas Regional Organizer and Club Development Officer, MaKalie Farmer

As the West Texas (ESC Regions 14-19) Regional Organizing Officer and the Club Development Officer of New Voices Texas, I work to spread the story of student journalists across the state and reach out to other student publications to let them know they have a voice and a right to be heard. 

MaKalie Farmer

I am responsible for contacting student publications across regions 14 through 19 as a Regional Officer, reaching out to student publications and starting new clubs across the state, and getting the word out that New Voices is a cause worth fighting for.

I measure success as an officer by how much I influence people. I believe the more publications I can get to be interested in New Voices, the more likely we are to reach our goal. 

By the end of the school year, I hope I have made a substantial impact among student journalists and inspired them to fight for their rights. I also hope to inspire other students to find a cause they’re passionate about and advocate for change. 

Legislative Officer, Carey Beth Wooley

As the Legislative Officer for New Voices Texas, I hold the responsibility of communicating with legislative officials in both the House and the Senate. I work to be a bridge between these legislative bodies and the supporters of New Voices legislation.

Carey Beth Wooley

I will attend meetings with both school board officials and people involved directly in the legislative process. In order to achieve this, I will further educate myself about the inner workings of the Texas legislative system as well as spread this information to our supporters and student journalist across the state.  

By the end of the year I hope to have begun talks with a senator who could possibly work with us. I also hope to have had meetings with school board officials and officials on the other side of this fight to further understand their thought process and to educate them about ours. 

To achieve these goals and get closer to our overarching aim to pass this bill, I will work closely with the other New Voices Texas officers to set up events and spread awareness about this important issue. This New Voices bill is crucial to not only student journalists, but Texans everywhere. Throughout this next year I hope to have helped this fight and gotten us just a little closer to being able to call Texas a New Voices state.

North Texas Regional Organizer, Kate Knauff

As the North Texas (ESC Regions 9-11) Regional Organizer of New Voices, I work to educate other high school journalism programs in my surrounding regions about New Voices legislation and how they can show support in the upcoming legislative session.

Kate Knauff

I will do this by encouraging and aiding student journalists and programs in my region to implement New Voices clubs to further the scope of support for this piece of legislation.

I will work alongside the other officers to create resources and guide other programs in how they can bolster this organization. I hope that at the end of the year, I have created a strong enough foundation in my region to continue fighting to pass this legislation even after I graduate.

East Texas Regional Organizer and Podcast Editor, Jessica Gil

As the Regional Organizer for East Texas (ESC Regions 4-8) and Podcast Editor of New Voices Texas, I work to ensure that all of the East Texas region is aware of our attempts to pass the New Voices legislation. 

Jessica Gil

This state law will protect student journalists from censorship by school officials and cure problems with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier decision. I am responsible for building connections with supporters and allies to promote the New Voices movement. I will also work to recruit new advocates from high schools, whether it be student journalists, teachers, or administrators in the East Texas region. I have created the first ever podcast for New Voices Texas, where I will be hosting in-person or virtual interviews with student journalists, school administrators, and even lawmakers that are with our cause. I will be doing this in order for student journalists, school administrators, representatives, and all of Texas to become more familiar with our organization as it gains traction. 

As an officer, I will measure success by gaining as much support as possible, both in terms of podcast listeners and support from many high schools, legislators, and anyone who is unfamiliar with New Voices. I hope that by the end of this school year, I will have garnered as much support as possible from both existing New Voices supporters and new supporters that I hope to recruit. 

Communications Officer, Catharine Li

As the Communications Officer of New Voices Texas, I work to relay important updates about the New Voices movement in Texas. I will ensure that our digital advocacy efforts are carried out in a timely, concise, and clear manner.

Catharine Li

While coordinating dynamic publicity efforts, I will utilize compelling visuals to amplify informational material, leading outreach projects to mobilize our campaign audience to take action by way of our website and various social media platforms.

Both empowered and awed by the sheer diversity and tenacity of scholastic media programs across the state, I seek to strengthen the inextinguishable spirit of community, using a plethora of powerful social platforms as a purposeful vessel for driving visibility, calling attention to the significance of young voices. By facilitating a welcome space for open discussion, building a forum to share forthright perspectives about the challenges and triumphs of the student journalist experience, I will help develop a stronger, more resilient coalition of supporters. 

Beyond simply raising awareness with these platforms, I will help build connections to facilitate sharing the stories of Texas student journalists. It is my ultimate goal to work with my fellow officers to galvanize lasting change, increasing transparency between students, consumers of scholastic media, and parties of influence, encouraging them to pass a New Voices law in Texas.