For immediate release: NOVEMBER 15, 2017

Contact: Sam Robles, press@htxrising.org, (956)407-0661

HOUSTON – Today, more than a dozen community-based groups launched HOUSTON RISING, a coalition fighting for equitable recovery from Hurricane Harvey. “We know that disasters like Harvey hit hardest for people of color, immigrants, and low-wage workers,” said Elsa Caballero, President of SEIU Texas and a founding member of the coalition. “That’s why HOUSTON RISING is going to be so vital – we have to make sure that all Houstonians truly recover from this storm, and that the city is stronger and more equitable as a result of the billions of dollars that will be spent here.”

The coalition’s first public event will be a community hearing on equity in recovery, to be held this Saturday, November 18 at the Finnigan Park Community Center at 4900 Providence Street in Fifth Ward. Affected residents should arrive at 10:00am, with testimony before public officials to be held from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Mr. Marvin Odum, Mayor Turner’s recovery czar for the City of Houston, will be in attendance, in addition to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Senator Sylvia Garcia, along with other officials. The event will be the first in a series of community hearings that give directly affected residents a voice in the early stages of recovery.

“We remember the costs of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Allison, Ike and the Tax and Memorial Day floods,” said Tarsha Jackson, Criminal Justice Director of the Texas Organizing Project and a founding member of the coalition. “After the cameras go away, historically marginalized communities are often forgotten or pushed to the side. HOUSTON RISING will be fighting to make sure that this time, people who are most affected by Harvey have a powerful voice in decisions about how billions in disaster recovery dollars are spent.”

With a mission around fighting for equitable recovery, the HOUSTON RISING coalition will pursue two tracks: 1) organizing affected communities to build their power in disaster recovery decision-making processes; and 2) following the billions in disaster recovery dollars to make sure that it responds to the priorities of disproportionately affected communities.

“Many people in Houston are suffering more than two months after Harvey – living in mold, still staying with friends, or making do without a car. Workers are starting construction jobs without proper training and with wages that can’t sustain a family,” said Sasha Legette, Business Liaison for the Workers Defense Project and also a founding member. “Working in coalition across issues and organizations is so important as we fight for equitable recovery.”

Members of the coalition include: A.C.T.I.O.N CDC, Air Alliance, Black Lives Mater Houston, Coalition of Community Organizations, Faith in Texas, Fe y Justicia, FIEL, Gulf Coast AFL-CIO, NAACP Houston Branch, SEIU Texas, T.E.J.A.S., Texas Appleseed, TOP Education Fund, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, West Street Recovery, and Workers Defense Project.

The coalition is supported by its member organizations and the Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund. Organizations interested in joining should contact Sarah Labowitz, interim director, at sarah@htxrising.org.

More at www.htxrising.org.