The annual Texas Tribune Festival takes place this weekend from Friday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 25 at the University of Texas at Austin. Figures will arrive from across the country to discuss a spectrum of social and political issues including diversity and the law and public and higher education.
Story by Mia Uhunmwuangho and Zoya Zia
Photo courtesy of Texas Tribune
Current Governor of Ohio John Kasich will kick off the festival in a one-on-one keynote with Texas Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith. Over the course of three days, students have the opportunity to hear directly from prominent lawmakers and activists.
Several speakers are well-known in the Austin community. Mayor Steve Adler and Chief of Austin Police Department Art Acevedo have events lined up. Olympic Gold Medalist and Longhorn Sanya-Richards Ross will participate in a panel on college sports.
Some programs are focused on the national election or state legislature while others are more open-ended in its approach to healthcare or the economy. Regardless of the topic discussed, festival attendees will be exposed to the kind of rhetoric and deliberation present in the current political climate.
Here are the top five speakers ORANGE is looking forward to seeing at the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival.
Silver is Texas Tribune’s state criminal justice reporter and will be moderating the Race and Law Enforcement segment of the festival. Silver is no stranger to reporting on issues such as police brutality and how it disproportionately affects communities of color. He has previously reported on the death of Sandra Bland, police brutality and mental health, and racial profiling. ORANGE is looking forward to seeing where Silver’s experience on reporting on such issues will steer such an important conversation.
Carter is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. Although she was the 2010 recipient of the UT System Outstanding Teaching, Carter now most recently known as one of the professors who sued UT and the state of Texas and campus carry became law. She will be speaking at the “Campus Carry is the Law. Now What?” session on Saturday. ORANGE is interested is seeing how Carter and other speakers feel about the future of guns on campus.
UT President Greg Fenves is no stranger to UT, and has spoken at several conferences before. However, this year Fenves will be speaking specifically about paying for higher education at the Texas Tribune Fest. With recent increases in UT’s tuition, and Fenves’ new plan to increase financial aid for middle class students, Fenves’ role in this segment will play a vital role in the future of the cost of education at UT.
Castro is a U.S. Representative who will participate in a panel discussion about the dysfunctionality in Congress. He serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. With years of experience in the state legislature, he is one of two familiar Castro faces in Texas. His twin brother Julian is another leading Texas Democrat. Joaquin recently released a statement outlining the lack of visibility of Hispanics in public education. ORANGE is interested in hearing his perspective on polarization and gridlock.
Hayhoe is the Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, and also one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. She researches climate change and its implications on society. On Saturday, she will share her knowledge in a one-on-one session with Neena Satija, Investigative Reporter and Producer for the Texas Tribune and Reveal. As both an environmentalist and a devout Christian, Hayhoe’s background is unique compared to others in her field of research.