SXSW is More Than Entertainment and Technology | Hunger in Texas Session (2023)

SXSW isn’t just about films, music and technology. Some of the conversations that I’m most drawn to are about our collective humanity. One powerful session that I attended was about hunger in Texas and what we can do about it.

Last year at SXSW, I caught up with Lawson Picasso, a community advocate for social justice and holistic systemic changes. She was a part of a session titled: Hunger Games: Who is Winning in our Broken System? The conversation centered around why are so many Texans going hungry today and the history of hunger in Texas and what can be done to eliminate hunger.

Panelists alongside Lawson included: Claire Campos-O’Neal & Nichole Abshire, Go Behind The Ballot; and Celia Cole, Feeding Texas

Lawson, from San Antonio, brought the perspective of a lived experience being food insecurity. Her advocacy includes going to the White House with Feeding America to advocate to end hunger. And that experience helped open her eyes to why it’s important to continue to use her voice at the proverbial table because of her lived experience with food insecurity.

Meet Lawson Picasso in this short video on Instagram:

The CBS 1968 Documentary “Hunger in America”

One of the most shocking (I can’t believe I still get shocked but I do) was the clip played from the 1968 CBS documentary “Hunger in America”. The clip showed former Bexar County Commissioner A.J. Ploch and his views as to why children are hungry which he replied “Well, why are they not getting enough food? Because the father won’t work. And I mean won’t work.”

You can watch the documentary on YouTube here:

Texas Public Radio published a piece on San Antonio’s response to the documentary in 2018 – 50 years later. Read or listen to that here:

Lawson and Celia reminded us that we are still hearing similar rhetoric from political leaders today.

Things we can do to help eliminate hunger: 

  1. Vote for leaders who will support policy to help end hunger. Civic engagement is the long-game difference maker.
  2. Volunteer at your local food bank and organizations that are already serving our communities.
  3. Put in effort to see the people around you. Change your social feed to see people different than you. Stay aware.

You can listen to the audio recording of this SXSW panel here:

Follow me on social media in 2024 for more updates from SXSW in Austin, TX. I’ll be talking to more Latinas Who Lead!