Communities in Houston are organizing every day in the face of disaster, displacement, and disenfranchisement.
Houston often doesn't receive funder attention until major climate change-fueled disasters. Hopes, though, turn to Houston every few years when national elections roll around. Many progressive and liberal forces see the region as emblematic of the state’s majority-minority future which helps inch statewide numbers from red to blue. On the flip side, business elites peddle a story of a “miracle” economy that has attracted big technology and energy companies, and where billionaires build new homes and developers push through massive residential projects.
Though coming from different value systems, both sets of narratives erase a critical element of Houston’s rapidly-changing national and global role: How do regional economies expand and national elections shift? Who cleans up neighborhood streets after a hurricane, clears out toxic waste, or bails out flood waters? How do whole new subdivisions or global tech headquarters really sprout up?
As one local organizer boldly shared in an NFG strategy session, “We live in a state that doesn't care that people died in a freeze, that doesn't care that vulnerable people died in a flood. Our people are powerful because we've survived the intentional genocide and extermination that has happened in the state for many generations. And we're still here and we're going to continue to be here.”
The question is: will funders be there also, standing with and supporting community and worker-led organizations fully, as true partners in lasting transformation?